Biden urges Gaza-Israel calm in first call with Abbas

The US considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and does not talk with the group.

US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak after meeting with Asian-American leaders at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in March. (photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak after meeting with Asian-American leaders at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in March.
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden urged calm between Israel and Gaza on Saturday and affirmed his support for a two-state solution in his first phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas since taking office, the official Palestinian news agency said.
The conversation came amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Biden dispatched an envoy to the region on Friday to work for calm.
Biden told Abbas the United States "is making efforts with the concerned parties to reach the goal" of reducing violence in the region, a summary of the call published by WAFA said.
Biden also said the United States opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah, the summary said, a case that helped ignite tension in the holy city and spark fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.
Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) has limited-self rule in the West Bank, part of territory Israel captured, along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Middle East war.
But the PA exerts little influence over Gaza and its Islamist rulers Hamas, which seized control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007 after a bloody falling out with Abbas's Fatah party.
The US considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and does not talk with the group.
Some analysts say Hamas appeared to see the escalation with Israel as an opportunity to marginalize Abbas and present itself as the guardian of Palestinians in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector they seek for a future state.