President Biden on Monday called for a cease-fire to end a week of fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas militants, urging both sides to “protect innocent civilians” in a statement that amounted to a subtle rebuke of the Israeli government, a close ally of the United States.

Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks” during a call with ­Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said. But in adding that Biden “expressed support for a cease-fire,” the administration went further than previous accounts of U.S. interactions with Israeli officials in describing the closed-door diplomacy and suggesting a private push.

Even as pressure mounted from fellow Democrats and others urging a cease-fire, Biden administration officials had stopped short of joining their calls until Biden spoke to Netanyahu and then issued a carefully worded statement afterward.

Read more…