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Biden Says Israel Has Improved Aid Flow to Gaza but Must Do More

WorldMiddle EastBiden Says Israel Has Improved Aid Flow to Gaza but Must Do More


Israeli authorities have improved aid delivery to Gaza but still “need to do more,” President Biden said on Wednesday, offering a measured assessment of how well Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was living up to promises he made last week.

In a call with Mr. Netanyahu last Thursday, Mr. Biden said that the United States could withhold support for Israel over its conduct of the war against Hamas, unless it did more to protect civilians and ensure adequate supplies for Gaza. On Wednesday, he said he had been “blunt and straightforward” with the Israeli leader.

Since then, Mr. Biden said, Israel has done more to provide access for food, medicine and other critical supplies, but he added that he still expected additional action. Mr. Netanyahu committed to increasing the number of aid trucks entering Gaza and to opening another border crossing into the territory.

The president said Israel had done more to provide access in recent days.

“It’s not enough,” Mr. Biden said. “They need to do more, and there’s one more opening that has to take place in the north. So we’ll see what he does in terms of meeting the commitments he made to me.”

The United Nations says that the number of aid trucks entering Gaza has not changed significantly from last week. Israel says the number of trucks reaching Gaza has increased sharply.

Still, the president has left vague what kind of action he will take if Israel does not satisfy his demands. Speaking at a news conference in the Rose Garden alongside the visiting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, Mr. Biden did not respond to a question about whether he would explicitly make future U.S. arms shipments to Israel dependent on how Mr. Netanyahu’s government responds.

Mr. Biden made a point of adding that Hamas should agree to a proposal offered over the weekend by the United States to release hostages it seized on Oct. 7 in exchange for a six-week cease-fire and the release of hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons on terrorism and other charges. “They need to move on the proposal that’s been made,” Mr. Biden said.

He emphasized his commitment to winning the freedom of the more than 130 hostages still being held, including a handful of American citizens. Vice President Kamala Harris met privately with family members of some of the hostages on Tuesday.

“We’ll get these hostages home where they belong but also bring back a six week cease-fire that we need now,” Mr. Biden said.



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