BLOG Biden: Future US support for war depends on protecting civilians

The war between Israel and Hamas - 181th day

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Rafa after the Israeli attack, Photo: Reuters
Rafa after the Israeli attack, Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.
Ažurirano: 04.04.2024. 22:06h
22: 02h

American President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that in the future, American support for the war in the Gaza Strip will depend on the steps taken by the Israeli side to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.

The two spoke on the phone just a few days after an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip killed seven aid workers, reports Radio Free Europe.

A statement from the White House states that Biden "made clear to Netanyahu the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of concrete and measurable steps to address the issue of civilian casualties, humanitarian suffering and the safety of humanitarian workers."

He said that US policy regarding Gaza will be determined by their assessment of Israel's current action on those steps.

Biden said an immediate ceasefire was necessary and called on Israel to reach an agreement without delay.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters in Brussels that support from the United States of America (US) will be reduced if Israel does not make significant adjustments to the way it conducts war.

"If we don't see the changes we need to see, there will be changes in our politics," said Blinken.

The White House also stated that Biden and Netanyahu also discussed "the open Iranian threat to Israel and the Israeli people."

"Biden made it clear that the United States strongly supports Israel in the face of these threats," the White House said.


18: 04h

Hamas official Osama Hamdan said there has been no progress in Gaza ceasefire talks despite the Palestinian group showing flexibility, Reuters reports.

Hamdan said that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is putting up obstacles that hinder both sides from reaching an agreement and that he is "not interested" in releasing the Israeli hostages.

"The occupation government is still evasive, and the negotiations are stuck in a vicious circle," Hamdan told a news conference in Beirut.

15: 42h

Israel's military has halted the departure of all combat units amid concerns over a possible escalation of violence after the killing of Iranian generals in Damascus this Sunday prompted threats of retaliation, Reuters reports.

13: 35h

More than 600 British lawyers, including three retired UK Supreme Court judges, have called on the Government to freeze arms sales to Israel.

In an open letter to the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, they stated that the United Kingdom, if it continues the deliveries, could be complicit in a "serious violation of international law."

Great Britain is legally obliged - they pointed out - to respect the conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there is a "substantial risk of genocide" in Gaza.

Among the signatories is the former president of the Supreme Court, Brenda Hale.

Great Britain is an ally of Israel, but relations are being tested by the high number of civilian casualties in the six-month war.

Calls for a ceasefire intensified this Sunday following the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza, three of whom were British nationals.

Due to the death of its members in the Israeli bombing, that humanitarian organization is asking for an independent investigation.


13: 31h

The Health Ministry of Hamas announced today that 33.037 people have died in Gaza since the start of the war almost six months ago between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement.

In the last 24 hours, another 62 people died, the Ministry stated in its new daily death toll.

It added that since the beginning of the war on October 7 last year, 75.668 people have been wounded.


07: 37h

The spokesman of the US State Department, Matthew Miller, said that the establishment of an independent state of Palestine should be achieved through direct negotiations, not in the United Nations, reports Reuters.

"Establishing a Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel is something that should be achieved through direct negotiations," Miller said.

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday requested a reconsideration of its 2011 application for full UN membership.

07: 35h

US President Joseph Biden has faced nationwide protests over US support for Israel in its war in Gaza, but this Sunday he also faced a protest at the White House itself.

The occasion was an informal meeting on Tuesday where Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and national security chiefs could hear from Muslim Americans about their concerns about the war between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas.

Shortly after the conversation began, Taer Ahmad, a Palestinian-American doctor from Chicago who was volunteering in Gaza, said he was leaving the meeting.

Before leaving, Ahmad presented the president with a letter and a photo of an orphaned eight-year-old girl in Rafah, the city that is Israel's next target.

Ahmad said Biden's response to his gesture was muted: "He just said, 'I understand.'"

Biden's support for Israel's military operations in Gaza, including the sale of American weapons, has angered Muslim Americans.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas killed 1.200 Israelis in a surprise attack, and Israel has since killed 33.000 Palestinians. Biden expressed concern about civilian casualties, but did not cut off military aid to Israel.

"There was a change in words" - said Ahmad. "But we haven't seen a significant change in the works".

This week's meeting was organized by the White House instead of the more traditional gala dinner marking the end of Ramadan. Several Muslim community leaders rejected calls to break their fast and meet the president, saying it would be inappropriate at a time of famine in Gaza.

"We understand how this community feels at a deeply painful time," White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.

She was guarded when asked about Tuesday's meeting, saying the conversation was private. Pressed by reporters about Biden's reaction to Ahmad's decision to leave the meeting, she said the president "respects the right to peaceful protest."

Ahmad said that when he received the invitation to come to the meeting at the White House, he was under the impression that it would be the first opportunity for Biden to speak with someone who had been to Gaza.

As the meeting approached, Ahmad said he was increasingly disturbed by the spate of news about US arms sales to Israel: "I started asking myself, what is the purpose of the meeting? What am I going to achieve by being there?".

Before leaving for the White House, Ahmad decided he would walk out when the meeting started: "I'm not going to yell at anybody. I'm not going to throw anything. I'm just going to walk out quietly," Ahmad said, adding, "That's what I did."

Ahmad is planning another trip to Gaza at the end of the month.


07: 30h

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to calling early parliamentary elections for September.

At a press conference, Gantz, a minister without portfolio, said the elections were needed to restore public confidence in the government.

Israeli society has become increasingly divided in recent months as the war in the Gaza Strip drags on and the government seeks to repatriate dozens of hostages taken by the Palestinian extremist group Hamas.

Family members of the hostages joined a wider protest movement this Sunday demanding Netanyahu's resignation and new elections. Those protests, held near Netanyahu's residence, turned into violent clashes between demonstrators and the police.

Gantz appealed to reach an agreement on the date of the elections in September, two years before the regular ones.

"Thus, time would be left for the continuation of the war against Hamas, while we would allow the citizens to know that we will soon restore trust between us (between the government and the people) and prevent discord between people," Gantz said.

After Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, since the war in the Gaza Strip has been ongoing, Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected calls to step down or hold new elections, arguing that the government must focus on the conflict.

Polls show that Netanyahu's popularity has dropped significantly since October 7, and that he is trailing Gantz, the former defense minister, by a long way.

Yesterday's call does not represent an immediate threat to Netanyahu, whose ruling coalition has a parliamentary majority without the support of Ghana.

Netanyahu's Likud party accused Gantz of politicking, saying the election campaign would paralyze the country and harm Israel's war activities.


07: 29h

The seven humanitarians of the "World Central Kitchen" (World Central Kitchen) were targeted by the Israeli army "systematically: car by car", said the founder and director of the organization, Spanish chef Jose Andres.

They were killed when the Israeli army targeted their convoy as they were returning from where they were supervising the unloading of 100 tons of food that had arrived in Gaza by sea from Cyprus. Citizens of Poland, Australia, USA, Great Britain and Palestine were killed.

Andres told Reuters that his organization was in contact with the Israeli army, which knew where the aid workers were going.

"This was not just an unfortunate moment: 'Whoops, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place...'. Even if we are not coordinating with the Israel Defense Forces, no democratic country and no army should target civilians and humanitarians," he said. he.

Israel's military said it "deeply regrets" the incident, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "unintentional."

Andres said there were more than three attacks on the convoy.

He spoke with US President Joseph Biden yesterday and said that "the US must do more and tell Prime Minister (Israel's Benjamin) Netanyahu that this war must stop now."

Andres said his organization is reviewing the security situation in Gaza and the delivery of humanitarian aid.


07: 27h

The war between Israel and Hamas - 181th day.

Patients will have to be evacuated from Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza due to the destruction, and if this is not done quickly, there will be many deaths.

This was stated yesterday by the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after the Israeli army destroyed the hospital, which it abandoned after a two-week occupation.

"The number of people who need medical evacuation will increase, and medical evacuation is already slow. People will die because they will not be adequately treated in Al Shifa or because they cannot even be evacuated because of the slowness," said Adhanom Gebrejesus, according to Reuters.

Israel said it killed hundreds of Hamas fighters in that hospital, which Hamas and the medical staff deny.

WHO representative for the West Bank and Gaza, Richard Piperkorn, said that the evacuation must be accelerated.

"Otherwise, we will lose a lot of people. We will lose a lot of lives," he said, adding that thousands of people will also be left without health care.


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