BRUSSELS — A diplomatic flurry from the White House and Europe added pressure on Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday to halt their 10-day-old conflict before it turned into a war entangling more of the Middle East.
President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel — their second phone call in three days — telling the Israeli leader he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire,” administration officials said. Although they portrayed the call as consistent with what Mr. Biden had been saying, his decision to set a deadline was an escalation.
And in Europe, France and Germany, both strong allies of Israel that had initially held back from pressuring Mr. Netanyahu in the early days of the conflict, intensified their push for a cease-fire.
French diplomats sought to advance their proposed United Nations Security Council resolution that would call on the antagonists to stop fighting and to allow unfettered humanitarian access to Gaza. It remained unclear on Wednesday if the United States, which has blocked all Security Council attempts to even issue a statement condemning the violence, would go along with the French resolution.
Twitter post afterward, he said, “I especially appreciate the support of our friend @POTUS Joe Biden, for the State of Israel’s right to self-defense.”
confronted Mr. Biden during his trip to a Ford plant, and pleaded with him to address the growing violence in the region and protect Palestinian lives.
Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who witnessed that interaction, said in an interview on Wednesday that Mr. Netanyahu’s reluctance to negotiate a cease-fire had made it harder for Democrats across the political spectrum to defend Israel’s actions.
Some saw the second phone call between Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu as messaging to placate domestic constituents.
Democrats have been pushing Mr. Biden “to take a tougher line and this was his opportunity to demonstrate that he is doing so,” said Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington group that supports Mr. Netanyahu’s policies. He also said Mr. Netanyahu “does not want to give the impression that he’s been told to end this conflict before it’s the right time to do so.”
For European nations, the intensified push for a cease-fire also is based partly on political calculations.