John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Friday provided details about the conversation between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, their first in nearly a month.

Speaking at a press briefing, Kirby said the two discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages being held by Hamas. He added that they also reviewed the situation in Gaza and “the shift to targeted operations that will enable the flow of increasing amounts” of aid, while keeping the military pressure on Hamas and its leaders.

“The President welcomed the decision from the government of Israel to permit the shipment of flour for the Palestinian people [in Gaza] directly through Ashdod port,” added Kirby.

“The President also discussed recent progress in ensuring the Palestinian Authority’s revenues are available to pay salaries for the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank,” he continued.

Biden also noted “Israel’s responsibility, even as it maintains military pressure on Hamas and its leaders, to reduce civilian harm and to protect the innocent,” said Kirby.

In addition, stated Kirby, Biden “discussed his vision for a more durable peace and security for Israel fully integrated within the region and a two-state solution with Israel’s security guaranteed.”

The phone call between Biden and Netanyahu lasted about 40 minutes and officials in Israel described it as positive.

While the two leaders had spoken frequently at the start of the war against Hamas, Friday’s conversation was the first time in 28 days they had spoken.

Their most recent conversation was on December 23. Axios’ Barak Ravid later reported that the conversation was a difficult one due to Israel's decision to withhold part of the tax revenue it collects for the Palestinian Authority.

Friday’s conversation comes amid growing frustration on the part of the Biden administration over Netanyahu’s approach on Gaza the day after the war.

On Wednesday, NBC News reported that the Biden administration is laying the groundwork with other Israeli leaders in anticipation of a post-Netanyahu government.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)