In a read-out of a phone call between President Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the United States pledged to "use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza."

The ceasefire was announced moments ago by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in remarks to the press in Cairo.

The read-out of the call places Obama at the center of the peace-making effort.

"President Obama spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu today and reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security," says the read-out.

"The President made clear that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians.

"The President expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem.

"The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself."

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