NewsBiden demands Israel take "specific, measurable steps" amid Gaza crisis

Biden demands Israel take "specific, measurable steps" amid Gaza crisis

Biden spoke with Netanyahu
Biden spoke with Netanyahu
Images source: © PAP | MICHAEL REYNOLDS
9:32 AM EDT, April 5, 2024

President Joe Biden, during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed that "the attack on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation in Gaza is unacceptable."

"President Biden clearly stated that Israel must announce and implement a series of specific, measurable steps to address the problem of damage to the civilian population, humanitarian suffering, and the security of humanitarian organization workers. He explained that the US policy towards Gaza will be defined based on Israel's immediate actions," the White House said in a statement regarding the phone call - the first since Israel's airstrike killed a team of volunteers from the World Central Kitchen in the Gaza Strip.

In the nearly half-hour conversation, Biden emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire to stabilize and improve the civilians' situation. He also urged Netanyahu to allow his negotiators to agree to the release of hostages held by Hamas immediately. The leaders discussed threats from Iran following an airstrike attributed to Israel on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, with Biden declaring support for Israel against these threats, it was reported.

"The United States issued its most forceful public reprimand of Israel since the war with Hamas began," Reuters commented.

The United States sets a condition for Israel

Thursday's conversation was the first time the US made a clear and public indication that its policy towards Israel could change based on the actions of the authorities in Tel Aviv. A growing number of Democrats in Congress are urging the president to give conditional support to Israel. We Secretary of State Antony Blinken more explicitly conveyed this stance during a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

"If we don't see the changes we expect, our policy will change," he stated. He also mentioned that the attack on WCK workers wasn't the first, but "it must be the last" such incident.

When asked about possible policy changes, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby did not provide a straightforward answer but acknowledged US frustration with Israel's policies.

"The president made it clear to the prime minister that without changes in protecting civilians, moving towards a ceasefire, and providing more aid, he will reconsider his policy choices regarding the Gaza Strip," Kirby said. He stressed that the US commitment to supporting Israel's defense "remains ironclad."

According to him, the US expects Israel to announce appropriate changes "in the coming hours and weeks."

Seven volunteers killed, including a Pole

Seven volunteers from the World Central Kitchen were killed in an Israeli attack on a humanitarian convoy in the Gaza Strip. The organization confirmed the deaths of seven of its team members in a statement. "The World Central Kitchen is devastated by the news that seven members of our team were killed in an IDF attack in Gaza," the website reads.

WCK stated their vehicles were struck as they were leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded over 110 tons of humanitarian food aid brought by sea to Gaza.

The individuals killed were from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, held dual citizenship of the USA and Canada, and Palestine.

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