Biden: Netanyahu ‘Hurting Israel’ By Not Preventing Civilian Deaths in Gaza

Wilmington, delaware — U.S. President Joe Biden said Saturday that he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel” in how he is approaching its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Biden expressed support for Israel’s right to pursue Hamas after the October 7 terror attack but said Netanyahu “must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken.”

For months, Biden has warned that Israel risks losing international support over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza, and the latest remarks in an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart pointed to the increasingly strained relationship between the two leaders.

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

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 such as the Iron Dome missile interceptors which protect the Israeli civilian populace from rocket attacks in the region.

“It is a red line,” he said, when asked about Rafah, “but I’m never going to leave Israel. The defense of Israel is still critical, so 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 said he was willing to make his case directly to the Israeli Knesset, its parliament, including by making another trip to the country. He traveled to Israel weeks after the October 7 attack. He declined to elaborate on how or whether such a trip might materialize.

The U.S. leader had hoped to secure a temporary cease-fire before Ramadan begins this week, though that appears increasingly unlikely as Hamas has balked at a deal pushed by the U.S. 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.

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