US President Biden warns Israel losing support over ‘indiscriminate bombing’ of Gaza

President Biden renewed his warnings that Israel should not make the same mistakes of overreaction that the US did following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


US President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that Israel was losing international support because of its “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza, speaking out in unusually strong language as the United Nations neared a vote on demanding a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

“Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world supporting them,” Biden said to donors during a fundraiser Tuesday.

“They’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” Biden said.

The president said he thought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understood, but he wasn’t so sure about the Israeli war cabinet. Israeli forces were carrying out punishing strikes across Gaza, crushing Palestinians in homes as the military presses ahead with an offensive that officials say could go on for weeks or months.

The president offered a harder-than-usual assessment of Israel’s decisions since the October 7 attack by Hamas and the moves by his conservative government. Biden’s top national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, heads to Israel this week to consult directly.

Biden specifically called out Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of a far-right Israeli party and the minister of national security in Netanyahu’s governing coalition, who opposes a two-state solution and has called for Israel to reassert control over all of the West Bank and Gaza. Ben-Gvir sits on Israel’s security cabinet but is not a member of the country’s three-person war cabinet.

The president also renewed his warnings that Israel should not make the same mistakes of overreaction that the US did following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

He recounted a familiar anecdote about inscribing on a photo with Netanyahu decades ago, “Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you have to say.” This time, the president added to his retelling of the story: “That remains to be the case.”

Israel to keep fighting despite global outcry against the war

Israel pressed ahead Tuesday with an offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers that it says could go on for weeks or months – despite global calls for a ceasefire amid the fast-rising death toll of Palestinian civilians. 

A non-binding vote at the United Nations later on Tuesday is likely to show how widespread support for a ceasefire actually is and highlight the increasingly isolated position of Israel and the United States on the world stage. 

More than 17,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, around two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory. 

About 90% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced within the besieged territory, where United Nations agencies say there is no safe place to flee. With only a trickle of humanitarian aid reaching a small portion of Gaza, residents face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods.

Israel says 97 of its soldiers have died in its ground offensive after Hamas raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 hostages. 

Qatar, which has played a key mediating role, says efforts to stop the war and have all hostages released will continue, but a willingness to discuss a cease-fire is fading.

Hamas at ‘breaking point’, says Israel

The Israeli military claimed on Tuesday that Hamas is at “its breaking point” as violent clashes push civilians into increasingly dire humanitarian conditions. 

The Palestinian militant group reported fighting in central Gaza overnight, while the Wafa news agency detailed 12 dead and “dozens” injured in an Israeli air raid on Rafah.

Numerous Israeli strikes targeted Khan Yunis, the new epicentre of fighting, and Rafah on the Egyptian border, where tens of thousands of people fleeing the violence are now massing.


“Hamas is at its breaking point, the Israeli army is retaking its last bastions,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday evening. 

“The fact that people are surrendering… accelerates our success. That is what we want: to move forward quickly,” Army Chief of staff Herzi Halevi said. 

He added that Israeli forces were “intensifying” their operations in the south while consolidating positions in the north.

‘Apocalyptic situation for civilians’

The situation facing civilians in Gaza is “apocalyptic”, warned the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell on Monday. 

He likened the scale of destruction in the Palestinian enclave as “more or less, even greater” than that suffered by Germany during the Second World War.


More than half of Gaza’s homes have been destroyed or damaged by the war, according to the UN. Some 1.9 million people have also been displaced, equivalent to 85% of the population. 

“More and more people have not eaten for a day, two days, three days… People lack everything,” said UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the displaced in Rafah “are facing dire conditions, in overcrowded places, both inside and outside the shelters.”

“We went from Gaza to Khan Yunis and then we were moved to Rafah. That night they bombed the house and destroyed it. They said Rafah would be a safe place. There is no safe place,” Oum Mohammed al-Jabri, 56, told AFP.

He lost seven of his 11 children in the war. 


Calls for more humanitarian aid

The UN and humanitarian organisations have urged Israel to let more aid into the Gaza Strip, amid the desperate situation facing civilians. 

Israeli authorities have said they want to control humanitarian trucks entering and leaving the territory.

The war between Israel and Hamas, which entered its 67th day on Tuesday, was triggered by Hamas’ bloody 7 October attack on southern Israel. 

Some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the shock assault, during which around 240 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza. 

A now-expired truce allowed the release of 100 hostages, with 137 remaining in captivity. 


More than 18,200 people have been killed in Israeli bombings in Gaza, the vast majority of them women and children, according to Palestinian authorities. The Israeli army reported around a hundred deaths in its ranks.

2023 saw unprecedented violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, even before the latest outbreak of fighting.


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