Biden Vows 2-State Solution in Calls to Both Israel, Palestinian Authority

President Joe Biden made phone calls to both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday amid increasingly violent attacks that have left at least 139 people dead in Gaza this week.

Biden "reaffirmed his strong support for Israel's right to defend itself" in his high-level call with Netanyahu. But the U.S. president also demanded the "safety and security of journalists" in the wake of an Israeli airstrike on the Jalaa building that housed media outlets The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

In a separate conversation with Abbas, Biden reiterated his "strong commitment" to negotiating a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis. Biden stressed to Abbas "the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets" and urged Netanyahu to "ensure the protection" of Palestinian civilians.

Here are the two White House readouts of President Biden’s calls with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu & Palestinian Authority President Abbas today on conflict in the region

— Monica Alba (@albamonica) May 15, 2021

The White House announced Saturday that each leader "shared concern" over the recent deaths of Palestinian and Israeli "innocent civilians, including children that have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence."

Hours before the Jalaa building airstrike, a separate Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians in the deadliest single strike of this current escalating conflict.

Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel this week.

At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza and eight in Israel over the past five days, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Biden reiterated America's backing for a two-state solution between both sides as deadly daily attacks continue across the West Bank and Gaza Saturday.

"[Biden] expressed his support for steps to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve and affirmed his support for a two-state solution. The leaders agreed to continue the close consultation between their teams and to remain in touch in the days ahead," the White House announced Saturday, describing his call with Netanyahu.

"[The president] highlighted the recent U.S. decision to resume assistance to the Palestinian people, including economic and humanitarian assistance to benefit Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The President also underscored his strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution as the best path to reach a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the White House said of Biden's call to Abbas.

Despite Biden's diplomatic discussions, top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said militant groups in the Gaza Strip "will not retreat," the AP reported Saturday. Haniyeh told rallygoers in Qatar Saturday, "the Zionist enemy struck Gaza, flattened towers and carried out massacres."

The Israeli military issued a statement about the Jalaa building airstrike Saturday, saying the structure housed Hamas terrorist materials in addition to the AP and Al Jazeera offices.

Newsweek reached out to Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Washington Saturday morning for additional remarks about the ongoing West Bank violence.

benjamin netanyahu mahmoud abbas
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas meet at Netanyahu's residence September 15, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel. Netanyahu and Abbas are deadlocked in peace negotiations over Israeli settlement building. LIOR MIZRAHI-pool/Getty Images