Philippine Daily Inquirer

Biden: Netanyahu approach to Gaza war a ‘mistake’

US leader stresses ceasefire call to allow entry of food aid, medicine

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the war in Gaza is a “mistake,” US President Joe Biden said in an interview published on Tuesday, offering further criticism of Israel’s handling of the conflict.

“I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach,” Biden said in comments to Univision, a US Spanish-language TV network.

Biden has also previously called Israel’s bombing in Gaza “indiscrimi­nate” and its military actions “over the top.”

The White House said last week that the president, in a call with Netanyahu, threatened to make conditiona­l US support for Israel’s offensive on it taking concrete steps to protect aid workers and civilians. That call followed an Israeli airstrike that killed seven staff of the aid group World Central Kitchen.

Call for ceasefire

“What I’m calling for is for the

Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country,” Biden said in Tuesday’s interview.

Israel’s military assault on Gaza has been the subject of

mounting internatio­nal criticism. Domestical­ly, Biden has also faced months of protests from antiwar activists, Muslims and Arab Americans across the country, who have demanded a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and restrictio­ns on US military assistance for Israel.

Toll on both sides

Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s subsequent military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has killed over 33,000, according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all of its 2.3 million population and led to genocide allegation­s that Israel denies. The coastal enclave also suffers widespread hunger.

Israel has received more US foreign aid than any other country since World War II, although annual assistance has been dwarfed for two years by funding and military equipment sent to Ukraine since Russia’s 2022 invasion.

The United States has traditiona­lly shielded Israel in the UN Security Council and vetoed three draft resolution­s on the war in Gaza. It abstained last month when the Security Council demanded an immediate ceasefire.

 ?? —AFP ?? ‘OVER THE TOP’ BOMBING Children stand in the rubble of a collapsed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 9 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinia­n territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
—AFP ‘OVER THE TOP’ BOMBING Children stand in the rubble of a collapsed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 9 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinia­n territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

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