Far-right Israeli minister’s criticism of Biden sparks anger


JERUSALEM (AP) — A far-right Israeli government minister has criticized President Joe Biden and said people will get more freedom if Donald Trump comes to power. fight hamas, The comments outraged other Israeli officials on Sunday and highlighted the sensitivity of relations as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the region again this week.

The Biden administration has Took a break from Congress to send arms to Israel And it avoided international calls for a ceasefire in the four months since Hamas’ October 7 attack. But the White House has urged Israel to take greater steps to avoid harming civilians and to deliver more aid to besieged Gaza.

Itamar Ben-GvirIsrael’s national security minister said An interview with the Wall Street Journal That Biden was hindering Israel’s war effort.

“Instead of giving us his full support, Biden is busy giving humanitarian aid (to Gaza) and fuel, which goes to Hamas,” Ben-Gvir said. “If Trump had been in power, American conduct would have been completely different.”

His comments drew criticism from Benny Gantz, a retired general and member of Netanyahu’s three-member war cabinet, who said Ben-Gvir was “causing tremendous damage” to US-Israeli relations. Opposition leader Yair Lapid also posted on Twitter, saying Ben-Gvir’s comments proved he “does not understand foreign relations.”

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Ben-Gvir’s comments as “racist” and called for international sanctions against him, saying he was a threat to the stability of the region.

Netanyahu appeared to mention Ben-Gvir’s comments during the weekly cabinet meeting, without mentioning him by name. “I don’t need any help in advancing our relations with the United States and the international community,” he said.

Ben-Gvir, along with other far-right figures, has called for “voluntary” mass migration of Palestinians from Gaza and the return of Jewish settlements, which Israel destroyed after withdrawing troops from the area in 2005 Was. The Biden administration opposes any such scenario.

Ben-Gvir and other key members of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition have threatened to topple the government if they feel he is too soft on Hamas. Netanyahu said the army was conducting “very aggressive raids” in northern and central Gaza, while also dealing with remaining Hamas battalions around Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

Israel’s military said on Sunday it had raided the headquarters of a Hamas brigade in Khan Yunis in the south and found training material for the October 7 attack, including “the entrances to Israeli kibbutzim, military bases and IDF armored vehicles.” “simulating models” were included.

The war in Gaza has leveled off giant bar In a small area, 85% of its population was displaced Pushed a quarter of the inhabitants towards starvation, The health ministry in Gaza said 127 bodies had been brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 27,365. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of those killed were women and children.

In central Gaza, Israeli airstrikes targeted two homes and a mosque in Deir al-Balah, killing 29 people and wounding at least 60 others, including children, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene. At Aksa Martyrs Hospital, a nurse cleaned the head injuries of a boy who sat between two other children, one trembling and the other in tears.

Other Palestinians found shelter in hospitals but received little relief. “Someone like me has been here for three months or two and a half months, and I haven’t taken a bath. what can we do? We want to go back to our homes,” said Basmah al-Haddad, a displaced person from Gaza City.

Two children were killed in separate air strikes in Rafah, according to the hospital registration office where the bodies were taken. The first to attack a house in the Jenena refugee camp killed a 12-year-old child. The second attack took place in a room west of the Rafah border crossing, killing a 2-year-old child.

The bodies were lying on the hospital floor. A female relative bent down to gently touch a child’s face.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS that more humanitarian aid to Gaza will be a “top priority” during Blinken’s visit to the region. Blinken is scheduled to start in Saudi Arabia on Monday and stop in Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank.

Another focus is Israel’s tense talks, brokered by the US, Qatar and Egypt, aimed at freeing more than 100 remaining captives captured in the October 7 attack in exchange for a ceasefire and the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

“It’s up to Hamas to come forward and respond with a serious proposal,” Sullivan told NBC. He said there was no clear estimate of how many hostages survived.

Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted about 250 in the October 7 attack. More than 100 detainees, mostly women and children, were released in exchange for the release of 240 during a week-long ceasefire in November. Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel.

Hamas has said it will not release any more hostages until Israel ends its offensive. It also demands the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Netanyahu has publicly rejected both demands.

Hamas is expected to respond to the latest ceasefire proposal in the coming days.


Magee reported from Cairo. Associated Press journalist Wafa Shurafa in Deir al-Balah contributed.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war


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