Biden says Israel has improved aid distribution to Gaza but must do more

Israeli authorities have improved their aid delivery to Gaza, but “they still need to do more,” President Biden said Wednesday, offering a measured assessment of how well Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is delivering on the promises he made last week.

In a phone call with Netanyahu on Thursday, Biden said the United States could withhold support from Israel over its conduct in the war against Hamas unless it does more to protect civilians and ensure adequate supplies to Gaza. On Wednesday he said he had been “candid and direct” with the Israeli leader.

Since then, Biden said, Israel has done more to ensure access to food, medicine and other essential supplies, but he added that he still expects further action. Netanyahu has pledged to increase the number of humanitarian trucks entering Gaza and to open another border crossing into the territory.

The president said Israel has done more to ensure access in recent days.

“It's not enough,” Biden said. “They need to do more and there is another opening that needs to happen in the north. So we'll see what he does in terms of respecting the commitments he made to me.”

The United Nations says the number of humanitarian trucks entering Gaza has not changed significantly since last week. Israel says the number of trucks reaching Gaza has increased significantly.

However, the president left vague what kind of action he would take if Israel did not meet his demands. Speaking at a news conference in the Rose Garden alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden did not respond to a question about whether he would explicitly make future U.S. arms shipments to Israel contingent on Netanyahu's government's response.

Biden was keen to add that Hamas should accept the proposal made by the United States over the weekend to release the hostages seized on October 7 in exchange for a six-week ceasefire and the release of hundreds of detained Palestinians. in Israeli prisons on terrorism and other charges. “They need to move forward with the proposal that was made,” Biden said.

He underlined his commitment to winning the freedom of the more than 130 hostages still held, including a handful of American citizens. Vice President Kamala Harris met privately with family members of some of the hostages on Tuesday.

“We will bring these hostages home where they belong, but we will also bring back the six-week ceasefire that we need now,” Biden said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *