newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Ben-Gvir: Biden sides with Tlaib, Sinwar over Netanyahu

The national security minister told The New York Times that the US president is "enormously mistaken" to pressure Israel over its military campaign against Hamas.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir leads an Otzma Yehudit Party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 18, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir leads an Otzma Yehudit Party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 18, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israel’s National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has accused U.S. President Joe Biden of siding with the enemies of the Jewish state.

During an interview with The New York Times published on Tuesday, Ben-Gvir said, “Presently, Biden prefers the line of [Palestinian-American Democratic Representative from Michigan] Rashida Tlaib and [Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar to the line of [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir.”

“I would have expected the president of the United States not to take their line, but rather to take ours,” he added.

While the Biden administration provided unwavering early support for Jerusalem in the wake of the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, including Biden becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit Israel during wartime, Washington has taken an increasingly critical stance as the ground war against Hamas in Gaza enters its sixth month.

This culminated on Monday with the Americans deciding not to use their veto power at the United Nations Security Council, allowing a resolution to pass that for the first time decoupled a demand for a temporary ceasefire from the release of 134 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas.

In response to the U.S. move, Netanyahu canceled a high-level delegation’s planned visit to Washington.

Netanyahu said that the changed U.S. position “hurts the war effort and the effort to release the hostages” by giving Hamas hope that international pressure will bring about a ceasefire without requiring the terror group to release the captives.

The Israeli delegation was supposed to discuss alternatives to a pending IDF ground operation in Rafah city, Hamas’s last bastion in the Gaza Strip. While Israel is adamant that the operation is required to achieve its war goals of destroying Hamas as a political and military entity in Gaza, the Biden administration opposes a full-scale offensive.

For his part, Ben-Gvir in a statement called the passage of the U.N. resolution “proof that President Biden is not prioritizing Israel and the free world’s victory over terrorism, but rather his own political considerations.”

Ben-Gvir called for Israel to ramp up its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

In the Times interview, the minister said that Biden was “enormously mistaken” to pressure Israel on this matter, adding that he “constantly sought to impose restrictions on Israel and talks about the rights of the other side, who include, I remind you, many terrorists who want to destroy us.”

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