US President Joe Biden has cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the country risked losing international support for its battle against Hamas due to its “indiscriminate” bombing of Gaza.
In his most direct words since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel this year, which sparked the current crisis, Biden told donors that Netanyahu must “change” his position on a two-state plan for the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu admitted as well there was “disagreement” with Biden about how a post-conflict Gaza would be governed, revealing a rare schism after weeks of the US leader forcefully supporting Israel.
At a campaign rally in Washington Mr Biden reminded that Israel had the majority of the world’s support following the Hamas attacks, in which it (Israel) lost 1,200 people, largely civilians. Hundreds of people were also kidnapped.
“But they’re starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” Mr Biden added.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, more than 18,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel’s retaliatory shelling of the coastal region.
Mr. Biden had previously refused to call Israeli bombardment “indiscriminate.”
He said that the US must stand by Israel in the face of the October 7 atrocities but reiterated, “the safety of innocent Palestinians remains a major concern.”
He also stated that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will be travelling to Israel this week to meet with the military cabinet.
For weeks, Washington has urged Israel to take greater precautions to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, claiming that far too many Palestinians have been murdered.
An increasing number of voices in the United States, particularly from the Democratic Party’s left wing, have urged Biden to adopt a stronger stance towards his Israeli partner, even to condition US military aid.