Biden says Israel is doing what he asked on Gaza aid

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US President Joe Biden said Friday that Israel was heeding his demand to let aid into Gaza, a day after he warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a sharp shift in policy.

Asked as he left the White House whether he had threatened to stop military aid to Israel in the call with Netanyahu, Biden replied: “I asked them to do what they’re doing.”

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In a tense call on Thursday, Biden warned Netanyahu that US policy on Israel was dependent on the protection of civilians and aid workers in Gaza, following an Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers.

Hours after the two leaders spoke, Israel announced that it would allow “temporary” aid deliveries into famine-threatened northern Gaza through the Israeli port of Ashdod and the Erez border crossing.

Israel also said it was firing two officers after finding a series of “grave mistakes” led to the drone strikes that killed the World Central Kitchen aid workers.

The White House has however said Israel must do more to meet the promises it had made to Biden.

“It’s important for those commitments to be fully realized and to be rapidly implemented,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a call.

Kirby added however that the United States did not expect to carry out its own probe into the deaths of the aid workers, who included US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger.

“There are no plans for the US to conduct an independent investigation or a separate investigation into this event,” Kirby said.

Biden’s warning of a change in policy was the clearest hint yet of possible conditions to Washington’s military support since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas, sparked by the militant group’s October 7 attack.

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The US president has stood by Israel, despite concerns over the mounting Palestinian death toll and the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

But with the US presidential election looming in November, Biden faces growing opposition to his Gaza policy from Muslim and young voters, with key allies calling on him to change course.

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