Biden and Netanyahu speak for first time since Israeli airstrikes killed seven aid workers

President Biden spoke by phone Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first conversation between the two leaders since Israeli airstrikes killed at least seven humanitarian aid workers in Gaza.

The call comes at a time of growing U.S. disapproval of Israel’s handling of the war against Hamas fighters in Gaza that followed the militant group’s attack inside Israel on Oct. 8 that killed nearly 1,200 people. Israel’s military response has killed tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza.

Biden ‘outraged and heartbroken’ by Israeli airstrikes

In a statement released Tuesday, Biden publicly expressed his displeasure with Monday's airstrikes that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers as they were traveling in a convoy attempting to deliver food to Palestinians in Gaza.

“Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians,” Biden said.

At a press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was “outraged and heartbroken” by the deaths of the aid workers.

But U.S. weapons continue to flow to Israel

Despite the Biden administration’s souring tone with Netanyahu over the war, the U.S. continues to send Israel the weapons they are using to carry it out.

On Monday, the same day Israel launched the airstrikes that killed the aid workers, the U.S. transferred thousands more bombs to the Israeli government, Reuters reported.

In March, Israel offered the U.S. assurances that the weaponry sent from Washington would not be used to violate humanitarian laws in Gaza.

Declining U.S. support for Israel

A Gallup poll released last week found that support for the military action taken by Israel in Gaza has dropped significantly in recent months.

In November, 50% of U.S. adults supported Israel’s military action in Gaza. In March, just 36% did.

Some Democrats in Congress have been ramping up pressure on Biden to pressure Israel to change course in their execution of the war.

In March, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York made headlines by calling Netanyahu an "obstacle to peace" and calling for new Israeli elections. Biden praised Schumer for that speech.

Since then, a growing number of Democrats have begun demanding that the U.S. tie further funding to Israel with a ceasefire in Gaza.

Trump: Israel is ‘losing the PR war’

Former President Donald Trump, Biden's main rival in the 2024 election, has also been critical of Israel's handling of the war in Gaza.

“What I said very plainly is get it over with, and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people,” Trump said in a Wednesday radio interview with Hugh Hewitt.

“They’re losing the PR war,” Trump added.

Still, Trump also said that the biggest problem for Israel is that they aren’t achieving victory against Hamas quickly enough.

“But they’ve got to finish what they started, and they’ve got to finish it fast, and we have to get on with life,” the former U.S. president added.

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