Biden calls Netanyahu’s approach to Gaza war a ‘mistake’

A view shows houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

President Joe Biden labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy in the Gaza conflict a “mistake,” further critiquing Israel’s actions in an interview published Tuesday.

“I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach,” Biden told Univision, a U.S. Spanish-language television network.

Biden previously described Israel’s bombings in Gaza as “indiscriminate” and called the military actions “over the top.” The White House stated last week that Biden, in a discussion with Netanyahu, threatened to condition U.S. support for Israel’s offensive on its efforts to safeguard aid workers and civilians. This conversation came after an Israeli airstrike killed seven employees of the aid organization World Central Kitchen.

“What I’m advocating for is for the Israelis to agree to a ceasefire and ensure complete access to food and medicine for the next six to eight weeks,” Biden said during the interview.

The Israeli military’s ongoing assault on Gaza has drawn significant international condemnation. Domestically, Biden has faced continuous protests from anti-war groups, Muslims, and Arab Americans, demanding a permanent ceasefire and limits on U.S. military aid to Israel.

An attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 killed 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli counts. Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza have resulted in over 33,000 deaths, as reported by the local health ministry, displaced nearly the entire population of 2.3 million, and led to accusations of genocide, which Israel refutes. The region also faces severe food shortages.

Since World War II, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, although the recent financial and military support to Ukraine following Russia’s 2022 invasion has surpassed these amounts.

The U.S. has consistently protected Israel in the U.N. Security Council, vetoing three draft resolutions concerning the war in Gaza. It abstained last month when the Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire.