“There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying and it’s gotta stop,” said the U.S. president.
U.S. President Joe Biden described on Thursday Israel’s response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre as “over the top,” adding that he was seeking a “sustained pause” in the war.
“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in the Gaza Strip has been over the top,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“I’m pushing very hard now to deal with this hostage ceasefire. There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying and it’s gotta stop,” he said.
The remarks come as the Democratic president is under intensifying domestic pressure to press Israel to end the fighting ahead of the November election in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address to the nation that his government would not agree to the “delusional demands” Hamas is making as part of ceasefire-for-hostages negotiations.
Bowing to the terrorist organization’s demands would lead to another massacre and a “major disaster” that no Israeli citizen can accept, Netanyahu emphasized, adding: “We are on our way to total victory. Total victory over Hamas will not take years. It will take months. Victory is within reach.”
Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “held a long and in-depth meeting in private” in Jerusalem.
During his trip to Israel, the top U.S. diplomat stressed it was “essential” to go ahead with ceasefire talks, noting that “there’s still a lot of work to be done. But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed essential, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it,” Blinken said.
Israel has repeatedly rejected proposals for a permanent ceasefire and maintains that it will continue in its goal to eradicate Hamas, return the remaining 136 captives and ensure that Gaza can never again pose a threat to the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, Biden on Thursday issued a memorandum requiring allies who receive U.S. military aid to provide “credible and reliable written assurances” of their adherence to international law.
Under the new guidelines, the State Department and the Department of Defense will be required to issue periodic reports on whether American allies are meeting the requirements.
The memo does not mention specific countries but comes amid increasing calls in the U.S. to condition aid to Israel due to its offensive to eliminate Hamas.