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Biden says Netanyahu 'hurting Israel more than helping'

President Biden on Saturday said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than helping” with his handling of the war with Hamas, even as Biden stressed he would not abandon support for Israel.

“What’s happening is he has a right to defend Israel, a right to continue to pursue Hamas,” Biden told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart. “But he must, he must, he must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken.

“In my view, he’s hurting Israel more than helping Israel […] it’s contrary to what Israel stands for. And I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden added.

The comments underscored the friction between the U.S. and Israel as the latter carries out a military campaign against Hamas in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,000 Israelis. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed in subsequent shelling and fighting in Gaza, prompting calls from progressives for the U.S. to cut off or condition aid to Israel.

Biden in Saturday’s interview stressed he had no intention of cutting off support for Israel, and he acknowledged the frustration among Americans who have protested his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“The defense of Israel is still critical, so there’s no red line I’m going to cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them,” Biden said, adding that he has concerns about the more than 30,000 Palestinians who have died, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

The president has for months simultaneously called on Israel to do more to protect civilians and allow aid into Gaza via border crossings. The U.S. in recent days began conducting airdrops into Gaza to get meals and other supplies into the area, with more drops planned in the coming days.

Biden announced during Thursday’s State of the Union plans for the U.S. military to lead the construction of a port along the coast of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea to boost the amount of aid getting to Palestinian civilians.

Progressives have called for the White House to back a permanent cease-fire in the conflict, but Biden and others have said such an agreement would allow Hamas to regroup. Instead, the administration has instead backed a temporary pause in fighting that would last at least six weeks and allow hostages to get out and more aid to get into Gaza.

On Super Tuesday, more than a quarter million voters cast ballots for “uncommitted” or “no preference” in Democratic primaries, largely viewed as a protest of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. The protest vote netted 11 delegates in Minnesota, though Biden still won the primary easily and racked up 64 delegates.

“I don’t blame them for being upset. There’s families there. There are people who are dying. They want something done about it. And they’re saying, Joe, do something, do something,” Biden said Saturday on MSNBC.

“But the idea that they all think it’s genocide is just not — that’s a different situation,” he added.

Source: The Hill

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