Saturday, May 25, 2024

UK says Biden is right to press Netanyahu for a halt in fighting in Gaza

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has stated US President Joe Biden is “rightly pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a pause in fighting  in the Gaza Strip to allow for more humanitarian aid.

In an interview with CNN’s John Berman on Wednesday, Cameron said he agrees with Biden that a temporary ceasefire is needed.

It comes after Biden offered one of his sharpest rebukes of Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza during an interview Tuesday, describing Netanyahu’s approach to the conflict as a “mistake” and calling for a halt to the fighting.

“He is rightly pressing Netanyahu, as I have many times that we need a pause in fighting to get aid in and hostages out,” Cameron stated.

“That’s long been Britain’s position,” he added.

On Wednesday, Biden said he’s been “very blunt” and “straightforward” with Netanyahu about the need for more humanitarian aid to Gaza, and more deliberate efforts to protect civilian life “in any action taken in the region”.

He cited “a long discussion” with Netanyahu during their phone call last week. He told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden that the Israeli leader had agreed to do several things related to getting more aid, both food and medicine, into the enclave and reducing civilian casualties in “any action taken in the region”.

Biden would not say Wednesday if he was considering conditioning aid to Gaza, despite being asked, though the White House warned last week of “changes in our own policy”, if Israel did not take additional steps to protect human life in Gaza.

The president also cited Vice President Kamala Harris’ meeting Tuesday with the families of hostages being held in Gaza, taking the opportunity to call on Hamas to respond to a proposal to release some of the hostages in return for a temporary ceasefire.

Nearly 33,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October following a cross-border attack led by Hamas that killed less than 1,200 people.

In addition to its sweeping military offensive, Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has urged Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.

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