WASHINGTON – President Biden warned Israel on Monday not to try to eliminate Hamas’s last pockets of control in Gaza because Israel has already killed “too many” Palestinian civilians and new guarantees are needed.
Biden, speaking alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah II during the Middle East leader’s visit to the White House, stepped up his criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – even as his aides denied that the surge was driven by polls showing the president was at risk of losing a swing state in November. by angering Muslim and Arab voters.
“The major military operation in Rafah should not take place without a credible plan – a credible plan – to ensure the safety and support of the more than a million people sheltering there,” Biden, 81, said. referring to Israel’s imminent ground invasion of the southern Gaza city. .
“Many people have been displaced, several times, fleeing the violence to the north. And now they are crowded together in Rafah, exposed and vulnerable. They must be protected. And we have also made clear from the beginning that we oppose any forced displacement of Palestinians out of Gaza,” the president said.
Biden faced large protests, including outside the White House, and persistent heckling at public appearances denouncing him as “Genocide Joe” after presenting himself as a staunch defender of Israel at the start of the war and requesting $14.3 billion in military aid from Congress.
Biden noted Monday that Hamas terrorists started the war with a surprise attack on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and kidnapping about 250 others, but added that “over the last four months, as the war raged, rage, the Palestinian people have also suffered unimaginable pain and suffering.” loss.
“Among the more than 27,000 Palestinians killed in this conflict, too many are innocent civilians and children, including thousands of children,” Biden said.
The president appeared to cite a slightly outdated figure from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which counted more than 28,000 dead as of Monday.
Earlier in the war, Biden had rejected the Hamas ministry’s claim that 5,000 people had died in the first 18 days of fighting – saying on October 25: “I have no idea the Palestinians are telling the truth on the number of people killed. I have no confidence in the figure used by the Palestinians.
Abdullah also on Monday urged both sides to end the war.
“We must – together, with our Arab partners and the international community – intensify our efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and immediately begin working towards creating a political horizon that leads to a just and comprehensive peace on the basis of a double agreement. state solution,” declared the king.
Biden said Monday he was also concerned about the standard of living in Gaza.
“Hundreds of thousands of people do not have access to food, water and other basic services. Many families have lost not one, but many loved ones and cannot mourn them or even bury them because it is not safe. It’s heartbreaking,” Biden said, also praising Abdullah, a pilot, for his participation in the humanitarian airdrops.
“Every innocent life in Gaza is a tragedy. Just like every innocent life lost in Israel is also a tragedy,” Biden said.
The US leader said he hoped for a six-week pause in fighting as part of a hostage swap deal.
Biden has gradually increased his criticism of Netanyahu as polls suggest unrest in the US election.
The president said Thursday that the Israeli response to Gaza had been “overblown” — after officials leaked to the press that Biden had privately called Netanyahu a “fucking bad guy.” In an additional leak, three sources told NBC in a Monday report that Biden had, on at least three occasions, called Netanyahu an “asshole.”
New York Post