x

Politics

Biden, in Netanyahu Call, Urges “Significant De-Escalation”

President Joe Biden greatly increased the pressure on Israel to end the war with the Palestinians  that has killed more than 200 people, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone call Wednesday that he expected "significant de-escalation" by day's end.

Biden asked Netanyahu to move "toward the path to a cease-fire," according to a White House description of their conversation.

Biden's call came as political and international pressure mounts on him to intervene more forcefully to push an end to the hostilities. Biden, until Wednesday, had avoided pressing Israel more directly and publicly for a cease-fire, or conveyed that level of urgency for ending Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in the thickly populated Gaza Strip.

His Biden administration had relied instead on what officials described as "quiet, intensive" diplomacy, including quashing a U.N. Security Council statement that would have addressed a cease-fire. The administration's handling opened a divide between Biden and Democratic lawmakers, dozens of whom have called for a cease-fire.

Egypt and some others have worked without success to broker a halt to fighting, while Hamas officials indicated publicly they would keep up their rocket barrages into Israel as long Israel continued airstrikes. Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who is based abroad, said this week that the group has been contacted by the United Nations, Russia, Egypt and Qatar as part of cease-fire efforts but "will not accept a solution that is not up to the sacrifices of the Palestinian people."

Netanyahu had given no sign of plans to immediately wind down Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas leaders and supply tunnels in Gaza, a 25-mile by 6-mile strip of territory that is home to more than 2 million people.

"You can either conquer them, and that's always an open possibility, or you can deter them," he told foreign ambassadors. "We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say, we don't rule out anything."

The fighting, the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence since 2014, has killed at least 219 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel.

The latest strikes came as diplomatic efforts aimed at a cease-fire gathered strength and Gaza's infrastructure, already weakened by a 14-year blockade, rapidly deteriorated. Medical supplies, water and fuel for electricity are running low in territory, on which Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007

RELATED

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden launched into his second year in office Thursday with a new focus on making fatigued Americans believe they're better off under his leadership as he embraces a pared-back agenda before the midterm elections.

Top Stories

Church

BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.

Church

NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.

Events

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.

Video

1 NYPD Officer Killed, 1 Severely Injured in Harlem Shooting (Vid)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer was killed and another critically wounded Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son, officials said, making four officers shot in the city in as many days.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.