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With Cease-Fire, Biden to Stick With 'Quiet Diplomacy'

Aides say administration officials have been on the phone to other leaders 80 times
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Biden has said little to the nation about the Israeli-Palestinian fighting, and he's heard about that, from people who wanted him to do or say more. With the cease-fire announced Thursday, Biden stepped to the White House microphone to praise everyone involved and to offer assurances that he's been pursuing diplomatic solutions all along. He said he's talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times during the 11-day clash, and also to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, NBC reports. All told, per NPR, the White House counts 80 conversations between Biden, his secretary of state and other American officials and their counterparts in the Middle East, as well as to other world leaders. Administration officials call Biden's approach "quiet diplomacy."

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The president has known Netanyahu for 40 years, and his aides believed he'd be able to nudge the prime minister toward a cease-fire, per the New York Times. When it didn't happen when the two talked Wednesday, doubts were raised about whether Biden's diplomatic approach in public—emphasizing "Israels' right to defend itself"—and tough talk in private would work. But he made clear Thursday that he's sticking with that strategy. "I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy," Biden said. "My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end." (Read more President Biden stories.)

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