May 22, 2024

The leaders of the U.S. and Israel are engaged in an increasingly public dispute over Gaza.

President Biden said on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “hurting Israel more than helping Israel,” and rebuked him over the rising civilian death toll even as he affirmed American support for Israel. “It’s contrary to what Israel stands for, and I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said. “So I want to see a cease-fire.”

Yesterday, Netanyahu rejected Biden’s assessment as “wrong.” He told Politico that he was doing what an “overwhelming majority” of Israelis wanted.

Biden’s comments highlighted the delicate position the U.S. is in: It is arming Israel while providing humanitarian aid to Gaza. Yesterday, the U.S. military said that a ship had set sail to build a floating pier off Gaza’s coast to allow for aid; the project could take weeks to complete.

Details: The floating pier will allow for the delivery of as many as two million meals a day to Gaza, which has a population of about 2.3 million people. But a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged that neither airdrops of aid, nor the pier, would be as effective as sending aid by land — which Israel has blocked.

A dire situation: Yazan Kafarneh, a 10-year-old boy, died last week. A picture of him, lying skeletal in a hospital bed, has become an emblem of the starvation in Gaza. Thousands of pregnant women there are suffering from malnutrition, health authorities said.

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