U.S. President Obama Meets Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York
U.S. President Barack Obama will speak privately with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu during the AIPAC policy conference on Monday. Reuters

In a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed serious concern about the increasing number of casualties in the Gaza Strip but reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself.

In a White House readout of the call, the president’s concern was for Palestinian civilians and Israeli soldiers alike. The president also informed the prime minister Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cairo soon to find a solution to hostilities and a way to return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement.

This was the second call between the two leaders regarding the offensive in Gaza in three days. At least 87 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday, the Israeli military and Palestinian health officials said.

The news comes quickly on the heels of Kerry’s comments on “Fox News Sunday” where he was recorded saying to an aide in a private conversation: “We’ve got to get over there” and “It’s crazy to be sitting around.”