Home Explainer Biden: Israel Has Not Done Enough To Protect Aid Workers

Biden: Israel Has Not Done Enough To Protect Aid Workers

It’s the strongest criticism yet of PM Netanyahu and Israel from its strongest ally. President Joe Biden, in an interview with Univision, has said he doesn’t agree with Netanyahu’s approach to the conflict. “So I think what he’s (Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) doing is a mistake,” said Biden in the interview. “I don’t agree with his approach. I think it’s outrageous that those 4 -3 vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway where it wasn’t like it was along the shore. It wasn’t like it was a convoy moving there.

Last week, seven aid workers, including citizens from US, Australia, Poland were killed when Israeli drones hit their convoy. Countries across the globe including the US had condemned the drone strikes. Others like Australia and Spain even said Israel’s explanation of how it happened was ‘not good enough’ pushing for an independent inquiry.

World Central Kitchen (WCK), the organisation the aid workers worked for, also said its staff was systematically targeted.

Calling the death of aid workers an accident, Israel tried to quell the anger by dismissing two officers. WCK suspended operations in Gaza after the strike.

Pushing for Israel to do more to ensure the safety of aid workers, President Biden said, “What I’m calling for is the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six-eight weeks, a total access to all food and medicine going into the country. I’ve spoken with everyone from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They’re prepared to move in, are prepared to move this food in. And I think there’s no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. This should be done now.”

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President Biden has become more vocal of his criticism of Netanyahu but the US has so far not made its supply of weapons to Israel conditional. In fact, last month it decided to send more weapons to Israel.

Biden is also under increasing pressure at home where he’s in the middle of campaigning for a second term. His Gaza policy has seen some Democrats protest against him. During the Michigan primary, in a protest vote, Democrats turned up hundreds of ‘uncommitted votes’ instead of voting in his support.

Last week, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, former House Speaker, were among three dozen lawmakers who signed a letter urging Biden to withhold arms transfers if “Israel fails to sufficiently mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza, including aid workers.”

Even though Biden warned Israel against planning a land offensive in Rafah last month, Netanyahu has gone public saying there is a date for the Rafah offensive, claiming it’s essential for Israel’s victory against ‘terrorist battalions’.