Biden says ‘every reason’ to believe Netanyahu is prolonging war for political gain

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said in a recent interview released Tuesday that there is “every reason” to think Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza for political gain.

The comment came in an interview conducted by Time magazine on May 28 when Biden was asked if he believes Netanyahu is prolonging the conflict for self-preservation as some in Israel have said.

“I’m not going to comment on that. There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion,” Biden said, adding that before the war, Netanyahu was facing blowback for wanting an overhaul of the nation’s judicial system. “So it’s an internal domestic debate that seems to have no consequence. And whether he would change his position or not, it’s hard to say, but it has not been helpful.”

Biden explained that his major disagreement with the Israeli prime minister is over Gaza’s future after the war ends.

“What happens after Gaza’s over? What, what does it go back to? Do Israeli forces go back in?” he asked. “I’ve been talking to the Egyptians and been talking to the Saudis. I’ve been talking to the Jordanians, I’ve been talking to the Emiratis. The answer is, if that’s the case, it can’t work. There needs to be a two-state solution, a transition to a two-state solution. And that’s my biggest disagreement with Bibi Netanyahu.”

When asked if Netanyahu was the only one standing in the way of a package of proposals that might aid in transitioning to a two-state solution, Biden said he had to be careful about what he told Time because he acknowledged the magazine article would come out later on, and he was already in the process of negotiating a possible path forward.

“I think there is a clear path for a transition where the Arab states would provide security and reconstruction in Gaza in return for a longer-term commitment to a transition to a two-state solution,” Biden said. “And that extends all the way from Saudi Arabia, who I continue to talk to — my team — to the Jordanians that are trying to work bringing in goods and certain goods now, food, medicine, etc. And the Egyptians who I’ve been talking with frequently about what happens in terms of access for more material to get into Gaza to prevent this catastrophe from continuing.”

The interview took place last Tuesday, several days before he announced in remarks at the White House on Friday that Israel had submitted a proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

An Israeli official, however, told NBC News on Monday that Biden’s description of the offer was “not accurate.”

Biden’s relationship with Netanyahu has grown contentious since Israel entered Gaza following Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The president has faced growing opposition from the far left of the Democratic Party over U.S. policy toward Israel in its efforts to help its close ally.

Asked last week by Time if Israeli forces have committed war crimes in Gaza, Biden said. “The answer is it’s uncertain and has been investigated by the Israelis themselves. The ICC is something that we don’t, we don’t recognize,” he added, referring to the International Criminal Court, whose chief prosecutor sought arrest warrants last month against Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes. “But one thing is certain, the people in Gaza, the Palestinians have suffered greatly, for lack of food, water, medicine, etc. And a lot of innocent people have been killed.”

Source link