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Biden Tells Netanyahu, Ceasefire, Increase in Aid, or We'll Change Our Policy

President Biden with Prime Minister Netayahu. Credit: C-SPAN

April 4, 2024 (EIRNS)—President Biden, according to the White House readout of today’s 30-minute conversation with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, “made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers. He made clear that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps. He underscored that an immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians, and he urged the prime minister to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home. The two leaders also discussed public Iranian threats against Israel and the Israeli people. President Biden made clear that the United States strongly supports Israel in the face of those threats.”

White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby declined to specify that a curtailment of weaponry was in the works, saying: “I’m not going to preview any potential policy decisions coming forward. What we want to see are some real changes on the Israeli side, and, you know, if we don’t see changes from their side, there will have to be changes from our side.” Those changes, in the coming “hours and days,” would involve a “dramatic increase in the humanitarian assistance getting in, additional crossings opened up, and a reduction in the violence against civilians and certainly aid workers…. We want to see a pause in the fighting, we want to see a ceasefire immediately, so that we can get more humanitarian assistance in and create a sense of conditions where aid organizations feel better about operating inside Gaza. We also, of course, as we’ve said many times, think that could also provide a window here to get the hostages out.”

The Armageddon faction within the Republican Party, who would use Israel as a much more prominent proxy than even Ukraine, reacted. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) tweeted: “By calling for an immediate ceasefire, the Biden admin is asking Israel to surrender to Iran-backed Hamas. Biden is turning his back on our greatest ally in the Middle East and prioritizing the far-left over American hostages held by Hamas.” A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Raj Aryal, tweeted: “President Biden’s message is clear: For terrorists like Hamas who kill indiscriminately and cower behind civilians—consequences are short-lived.”

At this point, however, the weapons keep coming. CNN reported this morning that the “Biden administration recently authorized the transfer of over 1,000 500-pound bombs and over 1,000 small-diameter bombs to Israel, according to three people familiar with the matter…. The transfer authorization of the MK82 bombs and small-diameter bombs, more than 2,000 munitions in total, occurred on Monday, according to two of the people familiar.… Last week, the U.S. authorized the transfer of similar weaponry, including nearly 2,000 2,000-pound bombs known as the MK84, the people familiar with the matter said. CNN has previously linked the MK84 bombs to mass casualty events in Gaza, including Israeli strikes on refugee camps there last year.”

Josh Paul, who resigned from the State Department in October over U.S. arms transfers to Israel, told CNN that the “State Department has the ability to suspend any approval even after the fact, which, given the circumstances, you’d think they’d at least consider.”