Biden's visit to Israel conditioned on Israel allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza: report

"The USA should not be placing conditions on our support for Israel because of demands from the squad."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
President Joe Biden is going to Israel to stand in solidarity with the long-standing American ally. But his visit was not planned without conditions being placed on Israel, and he is expected to meet with regional leaders to discuss the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza after the Hamas attack on Israel.

While Biden admin official John Kirby said that the US had not demanded that Israel halt their anticipated ground invasion of Gaza until Biden's visit was over, he did say that the White House is wanting to "make sure humanitarian assistance begins to flow."

To that end, Biden's trip to Israel was not announced until after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli officials for nearly 8 hours on Monday, during which "they received commitments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a humanitarian package."

Those negotiations during the meeting involved sorting out ways to get aid into Gaza, where more than 2,700 Palestinians have been killed as a result of the retaliation against Hamas by Israel. The US State Department worked to gain "safe zones" for Palestinians, as well as humanitarian aid, the Washington Post reported.

In response to that report, Senator Marsha Blackburn criticized Biden and his advisors for placing conditions on his visit to Israel, saying:

"The USA should not be placing conditions on our support for Israel because of demands from the squad. Humanitarian aid repeatedly ends up in the hands of Hamas terrorists who use it to build rockets and kill more Israelis. We should immediately halt US aid for the Palestinians."

Netanyahu's government is wary of sending aid to Gaza as well, as that aid can be used by Hamas for their own ends. Blinken stated that the plans to get aid into Gaza are such that it will be prevented from falling into the hands of the terrorists Israel is trying to eliminate. Biden, apparently, is set to discuss this in person on Wednesday.

"If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it," Blinken said, per Bloomberg. "And we will work to prevent it from happening again."

While refugees are being created as a result of this war, neighboring Arab nations, such as Jordan, are refusing to take in any Palestinian refugees.

This news comes as American progressives in Biden's party, such as New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, insist that the US should take them in. Speaking to CNN, AOC said the US has "a historic role" to "accept refugees and allow people to restart their lives here."

Bowman said that the "international community as well as the United States should be prepared to welcome refugees from Palestine while being very careful to vet and not allow members of Hamas." Republican members of the House and Senate have pushed back against this.

President Donald Trump, who is likely to face Biden in the 2024 presidential race, has said unequivocally that were he to win the election he would close the border and not permit any refugees from nations that harbor terrorists, and no one from Gaza. Egypt also is unwilling to take in refugees from Gaza, though after a meeting with Blinken, Egypt agreed to open the Rafah crossing from Gaza into that nation. The crossing, thus far, remains closed.

Egypt complained that Israel would not "take a stance" to allow foreigners out, while French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said that Hamas wasn't allowing people to leave.

Israel was attacked by Hamas on October 7, the Palestinian terrorist wing of the political party that leads Gaza. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, including women, children and the elderly, while some 150 civilians were kidnapped and taken back to Gaza. It is unknown how many Americans are among those hostages.

Israel is expected to launch a ground invasion after several days of retaliatory strikes against the region. They have advised Gazans to evacuate the target areas, telling them to move south. Hamas has told those Gazans to stay where they are.
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