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Biden faces mounting pressure to translate outrage into action during Netanyahu call

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US President Joe Biden found himself under mounting pressure on Thursday to translate his expressed outrage over the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza into concrete actions during his anticipated call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The incident, involving the killing of employees from the US-based World Central Kitchen group, has triggered calls for Biden to leverage US military support for Israel to ensure the protection of humanitarian workers and civilians.

In his first conversation with Netanyahu since the tragic event, Biden was expected to convey his anger and urge Israel to enhance measures to safeguard humanitarian personnel and non-combatants. However, with domestic discontent simmering over Biden’s steadfast support for Israel, his political allies are intensifying demands for him to employ the substantial leverage provided by Washington’s military aid to Israel, which amounts to billions of dollars annually.

Senator Chris Coons, a close confidant of Biden and representing the president’s home state of Delaware, voiced a willingness to condition aid to Israel should a full-scale offensive in Gaza materialize without adequate plans for the safety of civilians. Coons’ stance reflects a growing sentiment among some lawmakers urging for a reevaluation of US assistance to Israel amidst the ongoing conflict.

Beyond political circles, First Lady Jill Biden reportedly conveyed her distress directly to the president regarding the escalating civilian casualties in Gaza, underscoring the personal dimension of the mounting pressure on Biden to take decisive action. Biden himself acknowledged the gravity of the situation during a meeting with members of the Muslim community at the White House, according to reports.

While Biden has adopted increasingly forceful rhetoric condemning Israel’s actions in the Gaza conflict, critics contend that his words have yet to be matched by substantive policy measures. The lack of tangible steps to curtail military aid to Israel has drawn criticism from within the Democratic Party, with concerns raised about the potential electoral repercussions of Biden’s stance, particularly among Muslim and younger voters.

Former Obama administration officials, including Ben Rhodes, have underscored the need for the Biden administration to go beyond rhetorical condemnations and implement meaningful consequences for Israel’s actions. Senator Chris Murphy, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East, echoed calls for an immediate halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Against a backdrop of shifting public opinion, with a Gallup poll indicating growing disapproval of Israel’s actions in Gaza among US voters, Biden faces heightened scrutiny over his handling of the crisis and the extent to which he translates outrage into tangible policy shifts during his engagement with Netanyahu.

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