Israel’s Netanyahu says Biden ‘wrong’ in critique of Gaza war policy

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected US President Joe Biden’s comment that Israel’s approach to the war in Gaza was “hurting Israel more than helping Israel.”

“If he meant by that that I’m pursuing private policies against the majority, the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he’s wrong on both counts,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Politico.

The comments came one day after Biden said Netanyahu “must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken” in Gaza.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

Biden, who has backed Israel during the five-month-old war with Hamas but whose frustration with Netanyahu is growing increasingly visible, aired his criticism in an interview with MSNBC.

Netanyahu’s failure to bring home hostages still held by Hamas, whose October 7 attack on Israel triggered the war, has led to regular protests in Israel and calls for early elections, including in Tel Aviv again on Saturday night.

Netanyahu told Politico that his policies were “supported by the overwhelming majority of the Israelis,” who back “the action that we’re taking to destroy the remaining terrorist battalions of Hamas.”

He added that Israelis “say that once we destroy the Hamas, the last thing we should do is put in Gaza, in charge of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority that educates its children towards terrorism and pays for terrorism.”

Netanyahu has drawn global condemnation and defied the United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid, by rejecting calls for a Palestinian state.

Washington’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken of reforming the Palestinian Authority, which has partial administrative authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in a way that could “reunite” it and Gaza under PA leadership.

But Netanyahu said Israelis “also support my position that says that we should resoundingly reject the attempt to ram down our throats a Palestinian state.”

The war in Gaza began with Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which killed about 1,160, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

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Israel’s retaliatory military campaign has killed at least 31,045 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry.

“The attempt to say that my policies are my private policies that are not supported by most Israelis, is false,” Netanyahu said.

“The vast majority are united as never before. And they understand what’s good for Israel.”

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