newsIsrael at War

Ben-Gvir: ‘Hamas loves Biden’

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called for the national security minister's dismissal over the remark, claiming that he was "endangering every soldier in the IDF and every citizen in the State of Israel.”

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, July 27, 2023. Source: X.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, July 27, 2023. Source: X.

The Hamas terror group loves Joe Biden, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir asserted on Thursday.

Ben-Gvir posted the message to X after U.S. President Joe Biden curbed weapons shipments to Israel in a bid to fend off an IDF incursion into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking with CNN on Wednesday evening, Biden said, “If they [the Israel Defense Forces] go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem.”

Israeli forces captured the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing to Egypt on Tuesday, after the IDF announced on Monday night that it was conducting precision strikes against Hamas targets in the eastern part of the city. More than 100 Hamas sites were hit in Rafah, where the majority of the terror group’s remaining forces are located.

Israel believes that defeating Hamas’s remaining forces in Rafah and cutting the cross-border smuggling routes from Sinai are essential to winning its war against the terrorist group, which entered its 216th day on Thursday. The Biden administration is opposed to a large-scale military operation in the city, citing concerns about the city’s noncombatant population.

In response to Ben-Gvir’s tweet, opposition leader Yair Lapid immediately called for his dismissal, tweeting that the national security minister was “endangering every soldier in the IDF and every citizen in the State of Israel.” Lapid’s call was echoed by other members of his Yesh Atid Party.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also pushed back, saying in at a state ceremony commemorating the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany, “This is a notable opportunity to thank the State of Israel’s allies also today, and especially to our greatest ally the United States of America.

“I would like to say thank you to President Biden who is a great friend of the State of Israel, and who proved as such from the first day of the war. In the context of this morning’s news, it is important for me to say that even when there are disagreements and moments of disappointment between friends and allies, there is a way to clarify the disputes and it is beholden upon all of us to avoid baseless, irresponsible and insulting statements and tweets that harm the national security and the interests of the State of Israel,” Herzog said.

However, Ben-Gvir was not the only one to take issue with Biden‘s statement.

In an X post highlighting Israel’s upcoming Independence Day, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich noted that during the 1948-49 war, Israel “also had to face an arms embargo implemented by the United States against a state that was just newly formed. Once again, today, we will achieve complete victory in this war despite President Biden’s pushback and arms embargo.”

Smotrich called for the immediate conquest of Rafah, and to “maintain our unity at all costs. That is the only way that we will be able to effectively defeat our enemies and withstand the international pressure to end the war and accept defeat.”

Biden’s announcement on Wednesday comes on the heels of an Axios report the previous day that cited senior Israeli officials as saying “Israel got played” by the United States and other mediators participating in ongoing hostage negotiations between Israel and Hamas.

The Biden administration did not inform Jerusalem in advance of Hamas’s “acceptance” on Monday of the latest hostage deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, Axios reported.

According to one Israeli official, CIA Director William Burns and other U.S. officials involved in the negotiations knew about the new proposal, but didn’t inform Jerusalem.

Israeli officials said they suspect the Biden administration gave Hamas guarantees via the Egyptians and Qataris about ending the war, which the terror group demands but which Jerusalem says is a nonstarter until Hamas is defeated, the hostages are released and Gaza never again poses a threat to Israel.

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