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US Vice President Raises Gaza Concerns in Discussions with Netanyahu’s Political Rival

Credits: Reuters

US Vice President Kamala Harris expressed “deep concern” over the plight of Gaza’s civilians during talks on Monday with Benny Gantz, a prominent Israeli war cabinet member and key rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following her delivery of some of the most pointed US criticism of Israel since the conflict began, Harris emphasized the need for Israel to allow more aid into the Palestinian territory. She also urged Hamas to consider a proposed six-week ceasefire agreement.

The meeting with Gantz, a centrist and former military leader, underscored the growing frustration within the White House regarding the approach of Netanyahu’s right-wing government to the ongoing conflict. The war has resulted in a significant loss of life and a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

US Vice President, Harris (Credits: Times of India)

The meeting also shed light on the divisions within the Israeli government. Gantz, who transitioned from the political opposition to join the war cabinet following Hamas’s attacks in October, has clashed with Netanyahu on issues such as hostage negotiations and devising an exit strategy from the conflict.

In a statement issued by Harris’s office, the vice president’s deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza was reiterated. She urged Israel to take additional steps to facilitate the flow of aid into the region and called on Hamas to accept the terms proposed for a ceasefire.

US President Joe Biden is facing substantial political pressure, particularly in an election year, over the Democratic Party’s unwavering support for Israel amidst the escalating civilian casualties in Gaza. The health ministry in Gaza has reported a staggering death toll of 30,534, with the majority being women and children.

Following Hamas’s significant attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which approximately 1,160 people were killed according to an AFP tally of official figures, Israel vowed to dismantle the group. Israel has indicated that it believes 130 of the original 250 captives taken by Hamas remain in captivity in Gaza, with 31 reported deaths.

Ahead of his meetings with US officials, Gantz emphasized the importance of open dialogue between allies. He stressed the need for candid discussions to address the ongoing challenges and complexities of the situation.

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