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After Biden Warns Netanyahu Following Gaza Airstrike, Israel Moves To Open More Border Crossings

On Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time since an airstrike in Gaza killed seven humanitarian aid workers.

The White House said Biden warned that U.S. policy toward the conflict will be determined by Israel’s immediate efforts to address the security of civilians and aid workers.

“President Biden emphasized that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable,” a readout of the call said. “He made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and the safety of aid workers. He made clear that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate actions on these steps.”

This is the closest Biden has come to saying he would decrease aid to Israel since the war began. The statement said Biden urged Netanyahu to “empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay.”

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The meeting contradicted National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby’s statement on Wednesday that the U.S. would not consider changing its Israel policy until Israel concluded its investigation into the airstrike.

On Friday, Israel announced that it would open a second border crossing, Erez, with Gaza to allow increased aid to follow into the warzone where millions are said to be on the brink of famine. 

The United Nations officials with optimism. “This is positive news, but, of course, we will have to see how this is implemented,” said the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric. “We need a humanitarian ceasefire and a massive influx of aid.”

Ava Lombardi

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