‘Israel can’t ignore humanity of innocent Palestinians’ – Biden

The Biden administration is reportedly urging Israel to delay its plans for a massive ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

President Joe Biden called on Israel Sunday to respect the “laws of war” and to actively work to minimize collateral damage in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as the IDF’s Operation Swords of Iron begins its third week.

In a tweet Sunday, the president acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense, before exhorting the Israeli military to protect Gaza civilians, referencing his recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two leaders met twice during Biden’s brief solidarity trip to Israel last Wednesday.

“Israel has the right to defend itself.” Biden wrote. “We must make sure they have what they need to protect their people today and always.”

“At the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I have discussed how Israel must operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can.”

“We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace. That’s why I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

Biden also reiterated his support for Palestinian statehood, adding, “And we cannot give up on a two-state solution.”

A day earlier, the president condemned discrimination against Jews and Muslims, tweeting: “We must, without equivocation, denounce antisemitism and Islamophobia.”

According to a report published by CNN Sunday, the Biden administration has been pressuring Jerusalem to delay its planned ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Two anonymous sources cited by the report claimed that the Biden White House has asked for more time to pursue negotiations with Hamas, via Qatar, for the release of captives held in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, two Israeli-American women, Judith and Natalie Raanan, were released by Hamas, following talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and senior Qatari officials.

The Biden administration “pressed Israeli leadership to delay because of progress on the hostage front,” one source told CNN.

The White House is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled enclave, and has sought a delay in the Israeli operation in order to secure more aid for the Gaza Strip, the sources said.

A senior Israeli official cited in the report denied the claims, saying that Israel has not received any requests from the U.S. to push off the planned Gaza ground operation.

“We deny this report. We have a close dialogue and consultations with the US administration. The US is not pressing Israel in regards to the ground operation.”

On Saturday, Biden hinted that his administration may in fact be pressing Jerusalem to hold off on a ground operation.

When asked by a reporter if he has called on Israel to delay a ground operation, Biden said: “I’m talking to the Israelis.”