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Biden backs civilian protection, Israel to increase aid routes to Gaza

At midnight in Jerusalem, Israel made its first gesture toward Biden. A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council said in a statement that Israel has agreed to use the port of Ashdod to send aid directly into Gaza to open up the Erez corridor. This is the first entry into northern Gaza since the Hamas terror attack on October 7 and a significant increase in deliveries from Jordan.

Biden administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private call in more detail, said Mr. Netanyahu agreed to make additional commitments aimed at appeasing the president. Among other things, officials said Israel would commit to more measures to reduce civilian casualties and authorize negotiators to broker a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages.

The deal comes as US officials reportedly said there could be consequences if Mr Netanyahu resists.Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after a phone call between the president and prime minister that Israel needs to do more to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, a challenge that some have raised since attacks on aid workers Groups reconsider their on-the-ground activities.

“If we lose respect for human life, we risk becoming indistinguishable from those we face,” Blinken said during a stop at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “While Israel has taken important steps to allow aid, this is Gaza.” Current reality.” Entering Gaza: Results on the ground are woefully inadequate and unacceptable. “

The secretary of state made clear that the Biden administration is now ready to set a price if Israel continues to reject its recommendations. “If we don’t see the changes we need to see, policy will change,” he said.

The president has long refused to curb the flow of arms in an effort to influence Israel’s approach to the war. After Hamas killed 1,200 people and took hundreds of hostages in October, Mr Biden said his support for Israel was “rock solid and unwavering”. Although he has increasingly criticized what he sees as the excesses of military operations, he has remained true to his oath to this day.

But as sentiment grows on the political left, especially in electoral battleground states like Michigan, even some of Biden’s closest Democratic allies are starting to think Washington should impose more controls on weapons, including Democratic Sen. Chris Chris · Chris Coons. From Delaware, a confidant of the President.

“I think we’ve reached that point,” Mr. Coons CNN says If Mr. Netanyahu orders Israeli forces to force their way into the southern Gaza city of Rafah and “drop thousand-pound bombs and send a battalion to pursue Hamas and make no provision for civilians or humanitarian aid,” he added, then ” I would vote for conditional aid to Israel. “

Mr Netanyahu did not immediately release a description of his call with Mr Biden, but in other comments on Thursday he did not appear to be giving in. At a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Jerusalem with visiting Republican lawmakers, the prime minister strongly opposed Mr Biden’s long-standing insistence on a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict.

Mr Netanyahu said: “This is the opposite of an attempt to forcibly strangle our Palestinian state, which will become another terrorist haven, a launching pad for another attempt, like the Hamas state in Gaza. ” was opposed by the vast majority of Israelis. “

In another video statement, he focused on the threat from Iran. “Iran has been acting against us for many years, either directly or through its proxies, so Israel is taking defensive and offensive actions against Iran and its proxies,” Mr Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s military offensive in Syria this week The airstrike killed seven Iranian military officers.

“We will know how to protect ourselves,” he added, “and we will act on the simple principle that those who attack us or plan to attack us – we will attack them.”

A White House statement noted that Biden expressed support for Israel against Iran during a call with Netanyahu on Thursday that included Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan in addition to Blinken.

“The two leaders also discussed Iran’s overt threats to Israel and the Israeli people. President Biden made clear that the United States stands firmly with Israel in the face of these threats,” the statement read.

However, unlike previous comments, the latest White House statement did not mention October 7 or Israel’s right to respond to Hamas, instead stressing that “an immediate ceasefire is critical,” saying : Biden “urged the prime minister to authorize his negotiators to reach an immediate agreement to bring the hostages home.” Negotiators including CIA Director William J. Burns said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Directors will travel to Cairo on Saturday for further negotiations on such a deal.

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