Biden and PM discuss freeing hostages held by Hamas, letting foreigners out of Gaza

US President Joe Biden (L) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden (L) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

The White House releases a statement on US President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the two discussed “ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages to include American citizens we believe are held by Hamas.”

“They also reviewed ongoing discussions to ensure safe passage for foreign nationals wishing to depart Gaza as soon as possible,” the readout says. “The president discussed ongoing US support for the continuous flow of humanitarian support to the civilian population in Gaza and welcomed efforts to increase this support over the coming period.”

The statement says Biden also stressed his support for Israel’s “right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law,” while calling on Israel to focus on ensuring “a pathway for a permanent peace” following the war.

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