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Biden says Netanyahu making a ‘mistake’ in Gaza, attack on aid workers ‘outrageous’



Biden says Netanyahu making a 'mistake' in Gaza, attack on aid workers 'outrageous'

President Joe Biden said in a new interview that he disagrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued attacks in Gaza, delivering some of his strongest criticism yet of the country’s war with Hamas.

“I will tell you that I think what he is doing is a mistake,” Biden said of his Israeli counterpart in an interview with Univision’s Enrique Acevedo that aired Tuesday. “I don’t agree with his approach.”

The change in tone represents a dramatic shift in U.S. policy following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel that killed 1,200 people. The Israeli attack on Gaza has lasted more than six months since then at least 32,000 Palestinians dead.

The White House had pushed back against outright criticism of Netanyahu’s efforts while urging Israel and Hamas to reach a ceasefire despite the growing civilian toll. But that support changed last week after the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, who were killed in an Israeli airstrike after delivering food in Gaza.

Biden has since warned Netanyahu that future US aid will be conditional on protecting civilians, calling the ongoing humanitarian crisis “unacceptable.”

The president reiterated his call for a ceasefire in the Univision interview, which was recorded last week, just days after the aid workers were killed. Israel has taken responsibility before their death.

“I think it’s outrageous that those … vehicles were hit by drones and ended up on a highway where it wasn’t like it was along the coast, it wasn’t like there was a convoy going there,” he said. “What I’m calling for is for the Israelis to simply call for a ceasefire, and for the next six to eight weeks, give full access to all food and medicine coming into the country.”

The president added that the US had spoken with countries in the region willing to offer food and other humanitarian assistance.

“And I think there’s no excuse for not meeting the medical and nutritional needs of those people,” Biden added. “It has to happen now.”

Israel approved the opening of a border crossing in northern Gaza for the first time since October 7, following Biden’s appeal to Netanyahu.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamas should accept a new US-brokered ceasefire deal that would include the release of hostages. But Hamas has yet to respond to the proposal, nor to US officials have said the group’s public statements so far “have not been particularly encouraging.”

In the Univision interview, Biden also castigated his predecessor and 2024 Republican rival, former President Donald Trump, calling him the greatest threat to the nation. He pointed to Trump’s conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in a multifaceted federal indictment.

“The idea that he would sit in his office… and watch for hours on end the attack on the Capitol and the destruction and the chaos and the people who were killed, the police officers who died, and call them political heroes? Call them patriots…” Biden said. “I can’t think of another time in my life when you’ve had someone who had that attitude.”