Biden says Netanyahu needs to change the government and that Israel is losing global support

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Israel is losing support because of its “indiscriminate” bombing of Gaza and that Benjamin Netanyahu must replace his hard-line government, exposing a new rift with the former Israeli minister.

Biden’s comments, made to a donor to his 2024 re-election campaign, were among his most critical of Netanyahu’s handling of Israel’s war in Gaza. They stand in stark contrast to his literal and political embrace of the Israeli leader days after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7.

“Israel’s security may depend on the United States, but now the country has more than the United States. She’s got the European Union, she’s got Europe, she’s got most of the world… But they’re starting to lose that support because of the random bombings that are going on,” Biden said.

Israel’s retaliation for the Hamas attacks has left 18,000 dead, according to Gaza officials, 50,000 injured and triggered a humanitarian crisis. Biden’s comments are another episode in his candid private conversations with Netanyahu, with whom he has had deep differences for decades.

Biden alluded to a private conversation in which the Israeli leader said: “You bombed Germany, you dropped an atomic bomb, a lot of civilians died.”

Biden said he responded, “Yes, that’s why all these institutions were created after World War II, to make sure it doesn’t happen again… don’t make the same mistakes we did on 9/11. There was no reason for us to fight in Afghanistan.”

Biden, who is a frequent guest speaker at his fundraising events, spoke to a group of about 100 people, including several Jews, at a Washington hotel.

The sharp comments came as Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, prepares to travel to Israel for talks with the Israeli military cabinet.

Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday that Israel had “full support” from the US for its ground invasion of Gaza and that Washington was blocking “international pressure to end the war”.

But he added: “There is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas’, and I hope we can reach an agreement here as well.”

At the fundraiser, Biden specifically mentioned far-right Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is Israel’s national security minister, saying “this is the most conservative government in the history of Israel.”

“He (Netanyahu) has to change this government. This government in Israel is making things very difficult,” Biden said.

He also said that ultimately Israel “cannot say no” to a Palestinian state, which is opposed by Israeli hardliners.

Biden said: “We have an opportunity to start bringing the region together … and they still want to do it. But we have to make sure that Bibi (Netanyahu) understands that he needs to take some steps to strengthen himself… You can’t say that there is no Palestinian state… That will be the hardest thing.”

Netanyahu also said in a statement on Tuesday that he “will not allow Israel to repeat the mistake of Oslo,” the 1990s peace accords that created the Palestinian Authority as part of negotiations for a possible Palestinian state in the West Bank in Gaza. and East Jerusalem.

Washington has said it envisions the eventual return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, which Hamas seized from the West Bank body in 2007.

“I will not allow into Gaza those who nurture terrorism, support terrorism and finance terrorism,” Netanyahu said. The Palestinian Authority denies these accusations.

Biden has expressed strong support for Israel’s military operation against Hamas militants in Gaza, but he and his team have expressed growing concern over the loss of Palestinian civilians.

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