Biden hints Israel’s Netanyahu prolonging Gaza war for political aims

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US President Joe Biden swiped at Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with Time magazine published Tuesday, saying there was “every reason” to conclude the Israeli prime minister was dragging out the Gaza war to save himself politically.

Biden added that he had a “major disagreement” with Netanyahu over the post-conflict future of Gaza, and said Israel had engaged in “inappropriate” conduct during the war sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack.

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

More broadly, the 81-year-old pitched his case in the interview as better placed than election rival Donald Trump to secure the United States as “the world power” on issues ranging from Ukraine to Taiwan and Gaza.

Speaking to Time days before his announcement of an Israeli proposal for a Gaza ceasefire deal that Netanyahu greeted coolly, Biden was asked if he believed the Israeli was dragging out the war for political self-preservation.

“There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion,” Biden replied.

Biden admitted that he and Netanyahu, who have had tense relations as the death toll in Gaza has soared, were particularly at odds over the need to create a Palestinian state.

“My major disagreement with Netanyahu is, what happens after... Gaza’s over? What, what does it go back to? Do Israeli forces go back in?” said the Democrat.

“The answer is, if that’s the case, it can’t work.”

‘Freaking decimated’

The defense of Ukraine against Russia’s invasion has been a cornerstone of Biden’s foreign policy, and he argued he was better placed than Trump to continue that in a second term.

Biden said the Russian military had been “freaking decimated” and added: “Peace looks like making sure Russia never, never, never, never occupies Ukraine.”

He also lashed out at his Republican predecessor, who threatened to tear up longstanding US alliances and reached out to a number of authoritarian leaders while in power.

“All the bad guys are rooting for Trump, man,” Biden said.

“Name me a world leader other than Orban and Putin who think that Trump should be the world leader in the United States of America.”

As tensions remain high with China, Biden also reiterated that the United States would stand behind self-ruled Taiwan while saying Washington was not trying to change the status quo.

“We are not seeking independence for Taiwan nor will we in fact, not defend Taiwan if they if, if China unilaterally tries to change the status,” Biden said.

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With polls showing US voters are concerned about Biden’s age, despite the fact that - at 77 - Trump is only four years younger, Biden said he was still the better candidate.

“I can do it better than anybody you know,” Biden said when asked if he was fit to serve through a second term that would end when he was 86.

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