10 Apr 2024

Israel Gaza: Netanyahu making a 'mistake', says Biden

5:06 pm on 10 April 2024
President Joe Biden delivers the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, March 7, 2024. (Photo by Allison Bailey/NurPhoto) (Photo by Allison Bailey / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

US President Joe Biden. Photo: AFP/Allison Bailey

US President Joe Biden has said he believes that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a "mistake" in his handling of Gaza.

"I think what he's doing is a mistake. I don't agree with his approach," he said in an interview.

He said Gaza should have "total access to all food and medicine" for the next six to eight weeks.

Last week he warned ongoing US support for the war depended on Israel allowing in more food and medicine.

Israel has denied impeding the entry of aid or its distribution inside Gaza, and has accused UN agencies on the ground of failing to get the aid that is allowed in to the people who need it.

Weeks of talks have failed to produce a ceasefire agreement but international pressure is growing.

The hour-long interview was recorded last Wednesday - days after Israeli military strikes killed seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen - and it aired on Tuesday night on US Spanish-language network Univision.

Biden said it was "outrageous" how the aid organisation's vehicles had been "hit by drones and taken out on a highway".

The Israel Defense Forces have since said "grave mistakes" led to the fatal targeting of the workers. An inquiry led to two senior officers being dismissed.

In the interview Biden said: "What I'm calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country."

The president has previously said Hamas must agree to a pause and release remaining hostages.

Israel has recently committed to opening a crossing to northern Gaza and a deep water port to allow more aid to flow into the area.

Biden is facing domestic pressure over Israel. Over the past weeks he has sharpened his rhetoric over Israel's conduct in the six-month-old war, including towards Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, military supplies including bombs, missiles and ammunition have continued to flow from the US to Israel uninterrupted.

Hamas-led gunmen attacked southern Israeli border communities on 7 October, killing 1200 people and taking more than 250 hostage.

Israel says that of 130 hostages still in Gaza, at least 34 are dead.

More than 33,000 Gazans, the majority of them civilians, have been killed during Israel's offensive in Gaza since the October attack, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

- This story was originally published by the BBC.

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