US President Barack Obama has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and offered to broker a ceasefire with Hamas, saying there is a risk of further escalation of the crisis.
“The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,” the White House said in a statement after Obama spoke to Netanyahu.
Obama reiterated America’s strong condemnation of continuing rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and other terrorist organisations in Gaza and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks.
“The President expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasised the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm,” the White House said.
Obama expressed condolences to the people of Israel on the kidnapping and murder of teenagers Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel and urged that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the White House said adding that Obama welcomed the arrest of suspects in the abduction and murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir and expressed appreciation for the Prime Minister’s determination to see that they be brought to justice.
The two leaders also discussed the negotiations between Iran and the world powers.
The President said that US will not accept any agreement that does not ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes,” the statement said.
A day earlier, Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken with Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to pound Palestinain territory for the fourth day today to stop Hamas militants from firing rocket at cities inside the country.