Joe Biden warns Benjamin Netanyahu, or risk losing global support

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Joe Biden has called on Benjamin Netanyahu to change course, warning that Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza risks isolating the country.

The U.S. president, who has offered his harshest criticism of the Israeli prime minister’s far-right coalition since Israel launched its military offensive in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, said Israel is “beginning to lose . . . support around the world.

Speaking to donors at a political fundraiser, Biden called Netanyahu’s coalition “the most conservative government in the history of Israel . . .”[that]We do not want a two-state solution”.

Biden said: “I think he’s going to have to change, and with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move.”

Biden has so far resisted putting pressure on Netanyahu publicly, even as US officials say they have had difficult conversations in private. The US president has publicly been an ardent supporter of Israel throughout his political career, including its current war effort.

Later Tuesday, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House, Biden said he had “made it clear to the Israelis, they know, . . . that the safety of innocent Palestinians remains a major concern.”

The US president added that Israeli actions “must be consistent with trying to do everything possible to prevent innocent Palestinian civilians from being hurt, killed, killed, lost, lost”.

Biden said he could not verify “assurances” that there were no hostages in the mines in Gaza, which Israel is expected to flood during its military operations. “I know the death of every civilian is an absolute tragedy, and Israel has communicated its intent to match its words, its intent, its actions,” he said. “That’s what I was talking about today.”

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The United States last week at the UN. It vetoed a widely supported Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, which Israel strongly opposed.

Biden’s aides, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, have been highly critical of Israel and its approach to its military effort in Gaza. According to Palestinian officials, the death toll in the Gaza Strip has exceeded 18,000.

US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan is set to travel to Israel this week to familiarize himself with Israel’s war plans and their timing. Biden said Austin would also visit the Middle East to discuss “international efforts to secure the unimpeded flow of trade through the Red Sea.” US officials expect the fighting to reach a new phase in early January.

The Biden administration is also working on plans for a post-war Gaza. Privately, Western and Arab diplomats say any kind of two-state solution is nearly impossible to reach as long as Netanyahu is in power.

Netanyahu previously campaigned on a promise to block the creation of a Palestinian state, and in recent days has sharply criticized the Oslo Accords, the 1990s accords that created the Palestinian Authority.

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu acknowledged that his government and the Biden administration disagreed on how to run Gaza once Israel’s war with Hamas ends, but said he hoped they could still find an agreement.

Benjamin Netanyahu admits he disagrees with the US on how Gaza should be treated in the future. © AB

The United States has been pressuring the PA, which ruled Gaza until it was ousted by Hamas in 2007, and still maintains limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank.

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Netanyahu, however, has repeatedly said he opposes the PA’s return to Gaza, a position he reiterated on Tuesday. “Gaza will neither be Hamas nor Fatah,” he said in a statement, referring to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

“Yes, there is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas,’ and I hope we can reach an agreement here as well.”

Netanyahu, who has been a towering figure in Israeli politics for 15 years, returned to power last year after a brief period of opposition, forming a coalition with the religious Zionist and ultra-Orthodox parties. His cabinet included National Defense Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted of anti-Arab incitement in 2007, and Bezalel Smotrich, another ultranationalist émigré he appointed as finance minister.

The US has also made it clear to Israel that it does not want to see the Jewish state occupy the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu has said he expects Israel to have an indefinite presence there and has ruled out the participation of an international force in security after a war sparked by Hamas attacks that have killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials.

“I think Israel will have security responsibility indefinitely,” Netanyahu told ABC News last month. “We’ve seen what happens when we don’t have that . . . security responsibility, and Hamas terrorism has exploded on a scale we never imagined.

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