Biden presses Netanyahu for steps to protect civilians in Gaza: White House

The US president has criticised Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war but says he ‘strongly supports Israel’ against any Iran ‘threat’.

United States President Joe Biden has pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement “specific, concrete and measurable” steps to protect civilians and aid workers in Gaza, the White House said after a phone call between the two leaders.

The call was the first direct communication Biden and Netanyahu have had since an Israeli attack killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers earlier this week.

On Thursday, Biden appeared to scold Netanyahu, according to a White House statement describing the talks.

“President Biden emphasized that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable,” the White House said.

Biden also “made clear that US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action” to address the harm and suffering.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby later suggested that there would be consequences for Israel if it does not increase the flow of aid into Gaza and take measures to safeguard civilians and humanitarian workers. But he declined to provide details.