Biden is threatening Netanyahu to withdraw his support for Israel if he does not implement “concrete” measures to protect civilians in Gaza

The President of the United States, Joe Bidenand the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahumade this Thursday the first telephone conversation since last Tuesday’s attack in the Gaza Strip, which killed seven volunteers from World Central Kitchen, the chef’s NGO. Jose Andres. In the conversation, Biden blamed Netanyahu for the deaths of humanitarian workers and called for an “immediate” ceasefire and “concrete” measures to protect civilians in the Palestinian enclave.

Both leaders have distanced themselves in recent weeks as Israel’s offensive in Gaza intensified, but the attack on José Andrés’ NGO volunteers was the final straw. On the day of the attack, Biden spoke to the Spanish chef by phone to express his condolences. One of the victims had dual American-Canadian citizenship.

This was stated by José Andrés in an opinion article published on Wednesday on the pages of The New York Times that the aid workers’ deaths were the “direct result” of Israel’s policy in the war with Hamas. Netanyahu acknowledged Israel’s responsibility for an attack he called “unintentional,” and the Israeli president, Isaac DukeJosé Andrés personally called to apologize for the incident.

On this occasion, Biden wanted to make it clear that “Israel must announce and implement a series of specific, concrete and quantifiable measures to combat harm to civilians, humanitarian suffering and the safety of humanitarian workers.” From now on, his administration’s policies will be “determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate actions in taking these steps,” a White House statement said.

For his part, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, told the press from NATO headquarters in Brussels that US support would be reduced if Israel did not significantly adjust its way of waging war. “If we don’t see the changes we need to see, there will be changes in our policies,” the diplomat stressed.

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Biden’s entourage says the president is “heartbroken” over the attack, but his administration has not changed the support it has given Israel since the start of the conflict in Gaza after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas’s armed wing Israeli Territory. In addition, Washington is about to approve the sale of up to 50 US-made F-15 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth more than $18 billion, local press reports.

The Democratic leader is under increasing election-year pressure over his support for Gaza’s war against Israel, and allies are urging him to consider whether the billions of dollars in military aid the United States sends to his ally each year depends on whether Netanyahu listens to the demands for moderation.

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