I was ‘very blunt’ with Israel on humanitarian assistance to Gaza: Biden

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US President Joe Biden said he was very blunt with Israeli leaders that they would be held accountable if they didn’t allow humanitarian assistance to relieve the suffering of people in Gaza displaced by its raging conflict with Hamas.


He also said Israel has been “badly victimised,” but it would lose credibility worldwide if it did not explore the opportunity to relieve the suffering of these people who have nowhere to go.


Israel has told 1.1 million Palestinians living in the north of Gaza to move south ahead of the possible ground operations against the Hamas militants who launched an unprecedented attack on Israel and killed more than 1,400 people on October 7.


The UN agencies have warned that an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the besieged city of Gaza.


As they probably told you I was very blunt with the Israelis, Biden told reporters on Air Force One while on his return from Tel Aviv where he expressed America’s solidarity with Israel and held crucial talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Look, Israel has been badly victimised. But the truth is that if they have an opportunity to relieve the suffering of people who have nowhere to go, it’s what they should do. And if they don’t, they’ll be held accountable in ways that may be unfair, Biden said on his way back from Israel on Wednesday.


And my point to everyone is, look, if you have an opportunity to alleviate the pain, you should do it. And if you don’t, you’re going to lose credibility worldwide. And I think everyone understands that, Biden said after he spent several hours in Israel in the aftermath of the terrorist strike from Hamas on October 7.

Asked specifically what he was blunt with the Israelis about, Biden responded, Everything.”

I was very blunt on the need to support getting humanitarian aid to Gaza, and to do it quickly, he said.


The president added that he received “no pushback” from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu when he raised humanitarian issues.


But we’ve had a number of discussions about this, Biden said. Look, I don’t know what you picked up in Israel but I got no pushback. Virtually none. Let me say it again, I got no pushback.


Israel is likely planning retaliation and a possible ground invasion of Gaza against Hamas for its unprecedented attack on the country that killed more than 1,400 people. About 200 people are being held as captives in Gaza by Hamas militants.


In turn, Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,778 people. Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities in Gaza said.


The US has asked for massive humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza and is in the process of providing defence military assistance to Israel.


Biden said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi agreed to open up the Rafah gate to allow up to 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.


If Hamas confiscates them or doesn’t let it get through then it’s going to end, he said.


The bottom line is Sisi deserves a lot of credit, he added.


The White House, in a readout of the phone call between the two leaders, said Biden and Al-Sisi discussed ongoing coordination to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza and mechanisms to ensure the aid is distributed for the benefit of the civilian population.


The two leaders agreed to work together closely on encouraging an urgent and robust international response to the UN’s humanitarian appeal. They agreed on the need to preserve stability in the Middle East, prevent escalation of the conflict, and set the circumstances for a durable, permanent peace in the region, the White House said.


Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip, stopping all entry of food, water, medicine, and fuel to its 2.3 million people following the Hamas attack on October 7.


On his way back from Israel, Biden was asked about the odds of Israeli forces launching a ground invasion of Gaza.


We had a long talk about that and what alternatives there are. Our military is talking with their military about what the alternatives are, but I’m not going to go into that, either, the president said.


After Biden’s visit, Israel said that it will allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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