US President Joe Biden
US President Joe BidenMiriam Alster/Flash 90

US President Joe Biden pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week to reduce the widescale airstrikes in Gaza, The New York Times reported.

According to the report, in their phone conversation last week, Biden pressured Netanyahu to reduce the airstrikes and instead focus on targeted operations in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

NYT reported that during a "tense conversation" last week, Biden pushed Netanyahu to "scale back the war to a surgical operation relying more on special forces raids targeting Hamas leaders and tunnels than wide-scale bombing."

Netanyahu then sent Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer to assure the US that Israel will soon shift to the targeted phase that Biden has been pushing for.

The Times also reported that at the beginning of the war, Netanyahu "agreed to let humanitarian aid into Gaza as a condition for Mr. Biden visiting" Israel.

On November 30, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken privately told Israel's War Cabinet that it had "weeks, not months," to end the current phase of the Gaza war. And on December 23, Biden urged Netanyahu to move Israel from intense military action towards targeted raids against specific locations in Gaza.

"The recent conversations between Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu have grown more strained," the Times reported. "Every call is tense and sometimes sharp, officials say, but at the same time matter of fact."