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US President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv

Source: Anadolu / Getty

President Joe Biden demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu call an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In the wake of a horrific airstrike gone wrong which claimed the lives of several aid workers from chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that an immediate ceasefire to the conflict with the Hamas militant organization was needed “to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians,” in Gaza, according to the White House.

Biden made the statement during a phone call to Netanyahu on Thursday (April 4) that lasted thirty minutes, stressing that Israel should “announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers,” while stating that a policy shift towards Israel in the future by the United States, with representatives stating that he “made clear that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps.” He stated that the strike that killed the World Central Kitchen was “unacceptable”, following up on earlier comments where he expressed his outrage.

Netanyahu had previously issued an apology after the strike, but José Andrés has demanded an independent investigation. “What I know is that we were targeted deliberately, nonstop until everybody was dead in this convoy,” he said in an interview. Seven workers including a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada and a Palestinian died in the airstrike on Tuesday, which the IDF said was in error. World Central Kitchen representatives said they had prior clearance with the government to deliver aid in the region when hit. 

In response, the Israeli government announced that they were opening new aid routes in Gaza, including a key one at the port of Ashdod and the Erez crossing at the northern part of the strip. The news was met positively, but with figures expressing a need for more transparency. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wanted clearer details and assurances that “the bottlenecks and other delays at crossings are being resolved.The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, however, felt that the new routes were not enough in a post made on X, formerly Twitter adding to other international and domestic voices putting pressure on Israel.