Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone conversation on Tuesday in the wake of renewed violence in the region.
Since Monday, at least 142 rockets have been fired by the Palestinian militant group Hamas at Israel, triggering retaliatory airstrikes from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza.
In the rare, sudden call, Putin and Netanyahu discussed the “reaction of Israel’s neighbors and the international community” to the escalation of violence, according to a Kremlin statement. They also discussed settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The conversation comes a day after Putin met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to develop a plan to de-escalate the conflict. Russia hoped to use its relationship with Syria, Iran, and other nations in the region — countries which have traditionally supported Hamas — to broker an agreement between Israel and the militant group.
However, that plan seemed to have minimal impact, as both Israeli and Palestinian forces are still locked in a deadly struggle. The number of casualties has reached 19 on the Palestinian side, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Despite the number of Israeli air defenses that have intercepted 85% of the rockets and missiles launched from Gaza, three Israeli civilians have been killed so far, with additional citizens injured.
With the violence expected to continue, the conversation between Putin and Netanyahu could become the key to calming the situation. Putin, as one of the few world leaders with ties to both Israel and its neighbors, will likely need to play a stronger role in the coming days in order to ensure a ceasefire is reached.