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10 Mar, 2024 08:09

Netanyahu hurting Israel more than helping – Biden

The US president, however, insists that he will continue supporting the Jewish state no matter what
Netanyahu hurting Israel more than helping – Biden

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing Israel more harm than good by ignoring civilian casualties in Gaza amid the ongoing war with Hamas, but that doesn’t mean that Washington will stop backing the Jewish state, US President Joe Biden has said.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, at least 30,960 people have been killed and 72,524 others wounded since October 7, when the IDF began its attacks on the Palestinian enclave in response to the Hamas surprise attack on Israel, in which more than 1,100 people lost their lives and 240 others were taken hostage.

Biden again criticized the Israeli PM during an interview with MSNBC on Saturday over the way the Israel Defense Forces conducts the operation in Gaza.

“He has a right to defend Israel, a right to continue to pursue Hamas, but he must…pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken,” the US president stressed.

By not doing so, Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than he’s helping Israel… It’s contrary to what Israel stands for. I think it’s a big mistake, so I want to see a ceasefire,” he said.

The truce between Israel and Hamas should last six weeks and see a “major” exchange of prisoners, Biden said, adding that “there should be nothing happening” in terms of fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on Sunday.

Netanyahu reiterated earlier this week that mounting international pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza won’t make Israel give up on its goal of fighting Hamas until “total victory in war” is achieved.

The president was asked to clarify a comment, which was caught on a hot mic on Thursday after he delivered his State of the Union address, that he’s going to have a “come-to-Jesus” talk with Netanyahu over his handling of the conflict.

“It’s an expression used in the southern part of my state, meaning a serious meeting,” he explained.

Netanyahu “cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead,” but “the defense of Israel is still critical [for the US], so there’s no red line [where] I’m going to cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them,” Biden said, referring to the Israeli missile defense system. “I am never going to leave Israel,” he assured.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that US officials had told the Congress in a classified briefing that Washington had approved and delivered on more than 100 arms sales to Israel since October 7. The shipments included thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs and other weapons, the paper said.