Biden Criticizes Netanyahu For Standstill On Cease-Fire Efforts As Tensions Escalate With Lebanon

Zinger Key Points
  • Critics blame Netanyahu for prolonging the Gaza conflict for political gain; Biden expresses uncertainty about Israel committing war crimes.
  • Hamas demands a clear commitment to a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal.

U.S. President Joe Biden said there was “every reason” to believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was prolonging the Gaza conflict for political gain.

In an exclusive interview with Time magazine published Tuesday, Biden criticized Netanyahu and expressed uncertainty about whether Israel had committed war crimes.

Biden’s comments come just days after he outlined a cease-fire deal, urging Israel and Hamas to accept the terms and bring an end to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Ceasefire Proposal In Limbo

Last Friday, Biden proposed a six-week ceasefire during which Israeli forces would withdraw from all populated areas of Gaza.

Some hostages, including the elderly and women, would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The subsequent phases of the plan focus on a complete Israeli troop withdrawal and a permanent ceasefire — something Hamas seemingly supports.

“We cannot agree to an agreement that doesn’t secure, guarantee, and ensure a permanent ceasefire, a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and completing a real serious swap deal accordingly,” said Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, as Reuters reported.

Netanyahu reiterated on Monday that there would be no permanent ceasefire until Israel’s conditions are met, which include the dismantling of the militant group.

Netanyahu’s stance has sparked internal political strife. Conservative hard-liners threaten to withdraw from the government if he agrees to Biden’s ceasefire deal, as highlighted by the Washington Post.

Escalation Along the Northern Border

Tensions have also intensified along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Early Tuesday, Israeli police reported large fires in northern Israel, attributing them to rocket fire from southern Lebanon.

As per the CNN, Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamist group, claimed responsibility for launching a “swarm of drones” at an Israeli military command center in the Galilee, igniting fires in the building.

During a tour of heavily damaged areas, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Major General Herzi Halevi emphasized the IDF’s readiness to escalate if necessary. “We are approaching the point where a decision will have to be made, and the IDF is prepared and very ready for this decision,” Halevi stated. He added, “We have been attacking here for eight months and Hezbollah is paying a very, very high price.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated that Washington does “not support a full war with Hezbollah.” However, it acknowledges Israel’s right to defend itself against Hezbollah attacks.

Israel’s war cabinet is currently convening to discuss the escalation of violence on the border with Lebanon, as independent Middle East source Al-Monitor revealed Tuesday, adding that Britain advised Beirut to "make the necessary provisions for the war" of an unknown scope and duration.

The iShares MSCI Israel ETF EIS fell 1.4% on Tuesday. Oil prices, as broadly tracked by the United States Oil Fund USO, edged down by 1%, marking their fifth straight session of declines.

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