April 20, 2024

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The war between Israel and Gaza: A disagreement between Netanyahu and Biden over support for the conflict

The war between Israel and Gaza: A disagreement between Netanyahu and Biden over support for the conflict

  • Written by Bernd Debusmann Jr
  • BBC News, Washington

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited an opinion poll that showed high levels of support for Israel in the United States

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that popular support for Israel in the United States will help it fight “until complete victory” over Hamas.

In a statement, Netanyahu referred to opinion polls showing that more than 80% of Americans supported Israel during the conflict in Gaza.

His statements come after US President Joe Biden warned that Israel risked losing global support in the war.

US officials say they are working on a possible ceasefire agreement.

Netanyahu said in his statement on Tuesday that since the beginning of the conflict, he has been leading a campaign “to confront international pressure to end the war early and mobilize support for Israel.”

“We have achieved great successes in this area,” Netanyahu added, citing a recent Harvard-Harris poll that showed that 82% of the American public supports Israel. “This gives us more strength to continue the campaign until complete victory.”

Biden said on Monday that the United States hopes to reach a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza “by next Monday.”

The US President also later noted that Israel might “lose support from around the world” if it “continues this incredibly conservative government.”

Another poll by The Associated Press and NORC Foundation showed that about half of American adults in January believed Israel had “overstepped the bounds” — compared to 40% in November.

White House and State Department officials confirmed on Tuesday that negotiations on a temporary ceasefire were continuing, but they declined to provide details about the substance of the talks or potential timelines.

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said that “significant progress” had been made toward reaching an agreement last week to allow hostages to leave Gaza and allow humanitarian aid in.

“We are building on that progress this week, and the President and his team remain engaged around the clock with multiple partners in the region,” Kirby added.

“But as the president has said over the last 24 hours or so, there's no agreement yet. There's a lot of work to be done.”

Kirby said the ceasefire would “hopefully” allow for a six-week truce, a much longer period than previous pauses in fighting.

“Maybe this will lead to something more in terms of a better approach to ending the conflict,” he said.

At the State Department, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that US diplomats — working with Qatar, Egypt and Israel — are “trying to push this agreement over the finish line,” but that “ultimately, we will need Hamas to say yes.”

A Hamas official had previously told BBC News that the movement's priorities were to end hostilities, not to release the hostages.

Israel launched a large-scale air and ground attack on Gaza after Hamas gunmen killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel and took 253 hostage, some of whom have since been released.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip says at least 29,878 people have been killed in the Strip since then – including 96 deaths in the past 24 hours – as well as 70,215 wounded.

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