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Joe Biden Calls Israel to Order,  Asks for Immediate Cease-Fire In Gaza, Threatens Policy Changes

Joe Biden Calls Israel to Order,  Asks for Immediate Cease-Fire In Gaza, Threatens Policy Changes

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Joe Binden

United States government under President Joe Biden has asked the Israeli government to immediately cease fire in the ongoing war against Hamas militants in Gaza. This was stated in a press release issued by the White House on Thursday, declaring its strongest public rebuke toward Israel since the start of the Gaza war.

The US government had also asked the Israeli government to address the safety of aid workers and Palestinian civilians.
This new stand of the US government was clearly stated by President Biden in a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following an Israeli attack on a World Central Kitchen charity convoy this week that killed seven food aid workers.
The White House said Biden “made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.”

Biden “made clear that U.S. policy concerning Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps,” the White House statement read.

The statement showed a drastic shift in Biden’s tone and, for the first time, appeared to include a list of conditions for future US support. Biden steadfastly supported Israel, even as other governments sought to increase pressure on it. His comments were the first time the United States signalled that its continuing support would be conditional.

By implying that a shift in US policy towards Gaza was possible if Israel did not address the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave, Biden channelled his own frustration as well as mounting pressure from his Democratic Party’s left-leaning political base to end the killings and alleviate hunger among innocent civilians.

During a press briefing following the call, White House spokesperson John Kirby declined to clarify the exact changes the US would make to its policy towards Israel and Gaza. He stated that Washington expected to see an announcement of Israeli actions in the “coming hours and days.”

Recall that Israel on Monday launched an attack that killed seven workers with the World Central Kitchen group, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres. Andres told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that the Israeli attack had targeted his aid workers “systematically, car by car.”
Israel said on Thursday it would adjust tactics in the Gaza war after describing the attack as the result of a misidentification, and that inquiry findings would be made public soon.

The White House has described Biden as outraged and heartbroken by the attack but, before Thursday’s call, the president had made no fundamental change in Washington’s steadfast support for Israel in its conflict against Palestinian Hamas militants.

During the call, Biden “underscored that an immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians,” the White House said. Biden urged Netanyahu to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal to bring home hostages captured by Hamas in its deadly Oct. 7 attack, it added.

In Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel “must meet this moment” by surging humanitarian assistance and ensuring the security of those who provide aid.
“If we don’t see the changes that we need to see, there’ll be changes in our policy,” Blinken told reporters.

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