The US awaits Netanyahu’s reaction to Biden’s ultimatum

In an effort to alter the manner in which Israel is fighting in Gaza, Vice President Joe Biden put his personal credibility as well as the reputation of the United States at risk. Now, he is waiting to see how far Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will surrender to the most major shift in tone and strategy that his administration has made since the beginning of the war.

The President of the United States will be forced to make a crucial decision if Netanyahu does not comply with the request made by Vice President Biden on Thursday to take “specific, concrete, and measurable” steps in Gaza to alleviate the suffering of civilians and protect relief workers. In light of the fact that young, progressive, and Arab American voters are upset over the conflict, is he willing to enable Netanyahu to continue his disobedience on an issue that is creating a big political danger for him in the year that he is running for reelection this year? The question is whether or not Vice President Biden will take the monumental step of conditioning the terms of US backing for Israel in a war that was sparked by Hamas terror strikes in Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people.

The Israeli security cabinet approved moves late Thursday night, including the reopening of the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip for the first time since the attacks on October 7. This is an early indication that Biden’s message may be getting through. An Israeli official told CNN that this was the first time the crossing has been opened since the attacks. There is a growing risk of famine in Gaza, and this change may make it easier for humanitarian aid to enter the region.

A persistent Israeli turn, however, will be required in the days ahead – one that is able to endure future escalations in the battle against Hamas – in order to alleviate criticism of Netanyahu and to limit Biden’s own domestic political vulnerability. Following the Israeli strike in Gaza that resulted in the murder of seven relief workers from World Central Kitchen, Vice President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a high-stakes phone discussion on Thursday. The tragedy seemed to elicit a greater level of indignation than the killing of what the Gaza health ministry estimates to be more than 30,000 people in the enclave, which is where Hamas embeds its fighters in civilian neighborhoods.



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