Obama, Netanyahu Discuss Situation in Israel and Gaza

U.S. president reiterates American support for Israel's right to defend itself.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to thank the American leader "for the United States' investment in the Iron Dome rocket and mortar defense system, which has effectively defeated hundreds of incoming rockets from Gaza," according to a statement issued by the White House.

During the call, Obama "reiterated U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself," the statement said. In the past two days, both houses of Congress have unanimously passed resolutions supporting Israel's right to defend itself.

On Capitol Hill Friday, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren praised the administration for its support.

Obama and Netanyahu also discussed options for "de-escalating" the current conflict raging between Israel and Gaza on Friday, and Obama "expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives."

Meanwhile, Obama reached out to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as well as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza.

In his call to Morsi, Obama "underscored the importance of resolving the situation as quickly as possible to restore stability and prevent further loss of life," the White House said. He "commended Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation and expressed his hope that these efforts would be successful."

Egypt has offered to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas, and the two leaders agreed to stay in close contact during the coming days, according to the White House.

Obama and Erdogan, meanwhile, "shared their concerns about the dangers to civilian populations on both sides and expressed their common desire to see an end to the violence."

The U.S. and Turkish leaders "agreed that the continued spiral of violence jeopardizes prospects for a durable, lasting peace in the region," and Obama "underscored his commitment to advancing the goal of Middle East peace."

The Islamic Society of North America has called on Obama and his administration to demand a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza.

"Our nation has a moral obligation to stop the violence and any and all violations of the ceasefire that brought relative peace in the area for the past 4 years," the group said in a statement.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza