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Netanyahu ‘hurting Israel’ by not preventing more civilian deaths in Gaza, says Biden


Joe Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Israel hamas war, world news
Image Source : AP US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden on Saturday (March 9) said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than helping” the country by not preventing civilian casualties in Gaza, as a result of its war against Hamas. Extending support to Israel over its right to pursue Hamas after the October 7 attack last year, Biden said that Netanyahu “must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken”.

Biden has warned Israel for months regarding Israel risking losing international support over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza. The latest remarks in an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart indicated an increasingly strained relationship between the two leaders.

“It’s contrary to what Israel stands for. And I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said while speaking of the death toll in Gaza.

Biden said a potential Israeli invasion of the Gaza city of Rafah, where more than 1.3 million Palestinians are sheltering, is “a red line” for him, but said he would not cut off weapons like the Iron Dome missile interceptors which protect the Israeli civilian populace from rocket attacks in the region.

When asked about Rafah, he said, “It is a red line, but I’m never going to leave Israel.”

Defence of Israel ‘critical’: Biden

Calling the defence of Israel “still critical”, the US President said, “there’s no red line, I’m going to cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them”.

Biden expressed his willingness to make his case directly to the Israeli Knesset, its Parliament, including by revisiting the country. He had visited Israel weeks after the October 7 attack by Hamas and met PM Netanyahu. He declined to elaborate on how or whether such a trip might materialise.

The US leader had hoped to secure a temporary ceasefire before Ramadan begins this week, though that appears increasingly unlikely as Hamas has balked at a deal pushed by the US and its allies that would have seen fighting pause for about six weeks, the release of additional hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and a surge in humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Biden noted CIA Director Bill Burns is in the region currently trying to resurrect the deal.

(With AP inputs)

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