During an event on Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed criticism of Israel’s military policy in the Gaza Strip. President Biden, while acknowledging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a good friend of the United States, did not speak as favorably about the other members of Netanyahu’s government.
“Netanyahu is a good friend, but I think he needs to change and… This Israeli government is making it very difficult for him to move,” stated President Biden. He specifically criticized Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, Ben Gvir, saying, “This is the most conservative government in Israel’s history. Ben Gvir, his group, and the newcomers are not even willing to consider a two-state solution.”
President Biden also addressed the U.S. stance on the issue, which does not view Hamas as a representative of all Palestinians. “Not only do they want to retaliate – which is understandable – for what Hamas did, but they are also acting against all Palestinians… They don’t want any relationship with the Palestinians,” he said.
The U.S. President reiterated that the U.S. policy is that Hamas does not represent all Palestinians and that the whole of Gaza should not suffer due to the group’s recent violent attacks on Israel on October 7th. “You can’t say that there will be no Palestinian state in the future. We need to work in a way that brings Israel closer to the vision of a two-state solution,” he added.
President Biden also acknowledged the real and existential threat that Israel faces from Hamas. “There is no doubt about the need to address Hamas. None. They have every right,” he said, recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense.
However, he also pointed out that Israel’s future is not only dependent on the U.S. but also on the support of the European Union and the broader world. “One of the things that Bibi understands – but I’m not sure about Ben Gvir and his military council – is that Israel’s security can rely on the United States. But right now, it has more than the United States – it has the European Union, it has most of the world to support it. But they are starting to lose that support due to the indiscriminate bombing that is taking place,” concluded President Biden.
The White House has yet to release an official press statement on this issue, but President Biden’s words have sparked a new debate on the U.S. relationship with Israel and the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the world watches, the U.S. role in the Middle East’s most intractable conflict remains a central subject of focus.