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American President Joe Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six different times since the beginning of the conflict to discuss ways of bringing it to an end.
- A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza went into effect on May 21 after 11 days of violence.
- Before the ceasefire, more than 4,000 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza and Israel had launched airstrikes that had destroyed around 1,000 residential units in Gaza.
- More than 230 people in Gaza had been killed by the Israeli airstrikes and 12 in Israel had been killed by the rockets fired from Gaza.
Why was there such a discrepancy in the number of deaths?
- The majority of those killed were civilians and the reason for such a huge difference in the number of deaths between the two is thanks to an Israeli defense system called the “Iron Dome.”
- At least 75,000 people in Gaza were sheltered in United Nations-run schools, but the Israeli airstrikes completely destroyed mosques and COVID-19 testing laboratories and damaged hospitals, clinics and schools.
- The Israeli airstrikes also cut off fresh water and sewage systems in Gaza, as well as residents’ electricity.
- The ceasefire was mediated by the Egyptian government in part because of the leverage Egypt has over Hamas.
- Egypt sent mediators to both Gaza and Israel in order to reach a ceasefire. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also visited French President Emmanuel Macron and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Paris to discuss the conflict.
What role did Biden play?
- American President Joe Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six different times since the beginning of the conflict to discuss ways of bringing it to an end.
- But Biden has refused to condemn Israeli airstrikes against civilians in Gaza, which has made the president the target of intense criticism from members of his own party back home.
- Experts believe that Biden did little to bring about the ceasefire and that a bigger role was played by the Israeli government and Hamas, both of whom likely decided the conflict no longer served their own political interests.
Where is the US-Israel relationship now?
- Experts seem to think that Biden kept a friendly tone toward Israel in an effort to ensure a positive working relationship between the US and Israel continued.
- Some think that if Biden had pushed harder on Israel to come to a ceasefire agreement, the move could have backfired and that the United States’ influence in the region would have been weakened.
- For the US, Israel is an essential ally in the region and Biden almost certainly had that in mind when determining what his response to the conflict would be.
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