Biden makes contradictory remarks on ‘red lines’ for Israel in Gaza

US president says Israel’s Netanyahu is ‘hurting Israel’ more than helping in his handling of the war.

US President Joe Biden has given a contradictory remarks about his 'red line' on Gaza [Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP]

United States President Joe Biden has warned that there are “red lines” Israel should not cross in its war in Gaza while insisting he would never abandon the US ally.

In a contradictory and confusing interview with MSNBC aired on Saturday, Biden said that an Israeli invasion of the city of Rafah would be his “red line” for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but he would also never “leave Israel”.

“The defence of Israel is still critical, so there’s no red line [where] I’m going to cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them,” Biden said, referring to Israel’s missile defence system.

“But there’s red lines that if he crosses them…”, Biden said without finishing his chain of thought, adding that his administration “cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead”.

In some of his most pointed criticism of the Israeli leader yet, Biden also said that Netanyahu was “hurting Israel more than helping Israel” and should “pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost” in Gaza.

While Biden has firmly backed Israel in its campaign to destroy Hamas, his administration has been increasingly at odds with Netanyahu over the scale of civilian casualties in Gaza and restrictions on humanitarian aid into the enclave.

Biden’s administration has repeatedly urged Netanyahu not to launch a planned offensive in Rafah until Israel can ensure the safe evacuation of some 1.3 million Palestinians sheltering in the city.

On Thursday, Biden announced plans to build a temporary port in Gaza to allow the delivery of aid by sea amid severe Israeli restrictions on the transport of supplies by land.

Biden last month expressed hope that Israel and Hamas could agree to a temporary pause in fighting before Ramadan, but expectations of a deal by then withered after mediators left Cairo last week without an agreement.

Biden said during his interview on Saturday that a deal is “always possible” and that CIA Director Bill Burns was still in the region facilitating negotiations after meeting with David Barnea, his counterpart from Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, the previous day.

Mossad said on Saturday that discussions on a ceasefire were taking place “all the time” despite dimming hopes for a breakthrough.

Israel’s war in Gaza has killed more than 30,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to health authorities in the enclave.

Hamas’ October 7 attacks on Israel killed 1,139 people, according to Israeli authorities.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies