Biden tells Israel not to use aid as ‘bargaining chip,’ pushes truce deal

Biden tells Israel not to use aid as ‘bargaining chip,’ pushes truce deal
Biden tells Israel not to use aid as ‘bargaining chip,’ pushes truce deal

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US President Joe Biden warned Israel that it cannot use aid as a bargaining chip as he issued a call for an immediate, temporary ceasefire with Hamas in the bloody Gaza war. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, March 8 — US President Joe Biden warned Israel that it cannot use aid as a “bargaining chip” as he issued a call for an immediate, temporary ceasefire with Hamas in the bloody Gaza war.

“To the leadership of Israel I say this — humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority,” Biden said in his annual State of the Union address.

Biden laid out a plan, announced by officials earlier in the day, to set up a temporary pier in the Mediterranean to bring aid into Gaza, where the United Nations has warned of the risk of famine.

Biden again said that Israel was justified in attacking Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, over the massive attack on October 7 and said that Hamas “could end this conflict today” by releasing hostages.

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But he called the impact on Gaza “heartbreaking”.

“I’ve been working nonstop to establish an immediate ceasefire that would last for six weeks,” he said.

The deal would “get the hostages home and ease the intolerable humanitarian crisis, and build toward something more enduring.”

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Biden also reiterated his support for creation of a Palestinian state, a long-term goal opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government.

“As we look to the future, the only real solution is a two-state solution,” Biden said.

“I say this as a lifelong supporter of Israel. My entire career, no one has a stronger record with Israel. I challenge any of you here.” — AFP

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