Biden Says Israel Complying with Gaza Aid Request, Warns of Policy Shift

US President Joe Biden stated on Friday that Israel is complying with his request to allow aid into Gaza, following a conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he emphasized a potential shift in policy. When questioned outside the White House about whether he had threatened to halt military assistance to Israel during the call, Biden responded affirmatively, stating that he had simply asked them to take the action they are currently undertaking. He then dismissed inquiries about abandoning Israel as not serious.

In a tense exchange on Thursday, Biden conveyed to Netanyahu that US policy toward Israel hinges on safeguarding civilians and humanitarian workers in Gaza, following an Israeli attack that resulted in the deaths of seven individuals affiliated with the US-based organization World Central Kitchen. Shortly after their discussion, Israel announced its decision to permit “temporary” aid deliveries to northern Gaza, facing famine, through the Ashdod port and the Erez border crossing.

Additionally, Israel disclosed that it would dismiss two officers after determining that a series of “serious errors” led to the drone strikes that killed the aid workers. However, the White House has insisted that Israel must fulfill its commitments to Biden more comprehensively and swiftly. John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, emphasized the importance of these commitments being fully realized and promptly implemented.

Although acknowledging the tragic incident involving the aid workers, Kirby stated that the US does not intend to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. Biden’s warning of potential policy changes signifies the most overt indication yet of conditions being attached to US military support in light of Israel’s conflict with Hamas. Despite expressing support for Israel thus far, Biden faces mounting pressure from Muslim and young voters, as well as key allies, urging him to reconsider his approach to the situation in Gaza.

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