US says conditional military aid to Israel an option amid Gaza onslaught
A senior US official on Sunday did not rule out the possibility of Washington placing conditions on military aid to Israel, two days after President Joe Biden had suggested that he was open to the idea.
Asked about Biden's position on the possibility of Washington placing conditions on Israel for assistance amid its indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS:
"I thought the president really couldn't have been clearer when he answered the question," Sullivan said.
"He acknowledged the idea, but then he said 'but the way I have conducted our diplomacy on this is what is actually producing results'."
Pressed by the host on whether Biden was "open" to placing conditions on aid for Israel, Sullivan said: "Again, he is going to continue to focus on what is generating results... the approach that he is taking - direct, presidential diplomacy behind closed doors, with the Israelis and with our Arab partners - that's what's generating the kind of results we are seeing right now."
Biden had previously acknowledged in press statements that conditioning military aid to Israel, a suggestion from his party colleagues, is a "worthwhile consideration" - but that only his current approach would have brought about the short-term truce between Hamas and Israel and the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has killed almost 15,000 people in its air and ground assault on Gaza, which it launched on 7 October following a surprise Hamas attack on Israel.
The Biden administration has lent almost unlimited support to Israel during its campaign, and approved billions of dollars worth of aid for Tel Aviv earlier this month.
'Progressive' US senators including Bernie Sanders have in recent weeks called for conditions to be placed on aid to Israel, including a significant de-escalation in its onslaught on Gaza and a halt to the expansion of West Bank settlements.
As Israel's bombardment of Gaza has drawn on, a divide has grown within the White House regarding the Biden administration's stance on Israel's actions in the Palestinian territory, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
According to the article, about 20 White House staffers troubled by the war, requested a meeting with Biden's senior advisers, to discuss strategies for reducing civilian casualties.