WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden welcomed Jordan’s King Abdullah to the White House on Monday. 

The leader is a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East and this meeting was their first since the Israel-Hamas war began. 

“We are actively working for peace, security, and dignity for both the Palestinian people and the Israeli people,” President Biden said. 

The two men spoke about the conflict and the effort to free the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.  The U.S. is trying to help broker a hostage deal and National Security adviser John Kirby says negotiators are making progress. 

“But it’s not done and nothing is really negotiated until everything is negotiated. And those conversations are ongoing now,” Kirby said. 

The allies do disagree on what should come next in Gaza. The king of Jordan is calling for a permanent ceasefire, while President Biden is only advocating for a temporary pause in fighting. 

“To get an extended pause in place to bring the violence down to get people out and get aid in,” Kirby said. 

U.S. officials say they are concerned about the growing number of civilian deaths and insist they’re pushing Israel to do more to protect innocent people. 

“We are happy that over the past month we’ve seen civilian casualties come down from the incredibly high rates that they were. They are still alarmingly high,” State Dept. Spokesperson Matthew Miller said. 

Specifically, Miller says the U.S. is warning Israel to make a plan to protect civilians before taking military action in the city of Rafah in Gaza. 

“We do not support any military campaign in Rafah going forward as long as they cannot properly account for the 1.1 million people, by some estimates, who are in Rafah,” Miller said.