Netanyahu rejects Biden’s appeal for de-escalation of hostilities in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s call for “a significant de-escalation” in Israel’s bombardment of Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip leading to a cease-fire in the 10 days of hostilities.

Instead, Netanyahu said in a statement he is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.”

Netanyahu said he “greatly appreciates the support of the American president,” but that Israel will push ahead “to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel.”

By late Wednesday, the death toll stood at 227 in Gaza, including 64 children, according to local health officials there, and 12 in Israel, according to its authorities.

Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip exchanged new attacks on each other on Wednesday, despite multiple attempts by regional and international parties to bring about a cease-fire, including Biden’s effort in his fourth conversation with Netanyahu since hostilities broke out last week.

France has proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution, in coordination with Egypt and Jordan, calling for a halt to the fighting.

The United States, an Israeli ally that has veto power as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, has so far blocked the council from issuing a statement supporting a cease-fire. U.S. officials have said such a statement would not help diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

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