Although President Joe Biden offered rhetorical support for Israel’s mission to destroy Hamas after the terrorist group staged a devastating attack last month, his administration has since called for some significant military restraint on the part of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region this week, where he reiterated the Biden administration’s claim that a “pause” in Israel’s military response would be necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in Palestine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday reaffirmed the U.S.'s support for a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war, also emphasizing the need for the protection of civilians and journalists. https://t.co/mcfW9oFTvE pic.twitter.com/7KjEkOGZIW
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has roundly rejected all calls for a temporary ceasefire, addressed the White House request head-on in a statement on Friday.
“I appreciate the consistent support of President Biden, the American administration and the American people,” he began.
Referencing his recent meeting with Blinken, however, Netanyahu added: “I conveyed to him that we are continuing with all our might. Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the liberation of our hostages. Israel will not allow fuel into the Gaza Strip and opposes the transfer of money into the Strip.”
Thus far, Hamas has refused to release the estimated 241 hostages its militants are currently holding in Gaza and suggested that the captives would only be freed if Israel agrees to release all of its Palestinian prisoners, including the terrorists behind the deadly attack on Oct. 7.
Nevertheless, White House officials and a host of Democratic lawmakers continue to pressure Israel into a pause that could give Hamas the opportunity to stage another attack.
More than a dozen Senate Democrats signed a recent letter supporting the Biden administration’s call for a temporary halt in Israel’s military defense.
“The failure to adequately protect non-combatant civilians risks dramatic escalation of the conflict in the region and imposes severe damage on prospects for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians,” the lawmakers claimed. “Based on the consensus opinion of U.S. and international aid officials, it is nearly impossible to deliver sufficient humanitarian aid to protect civilian life under current conditions. Thus, we join President Biden in his call for a short-term cessation of hostilities that pose high risks to civilians, aid workers or humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza.”