President Biden intensified international pressure on Israel on Tuesday, saying for the first time publicly that the country is losing support around the world as its fierce war against Hamas in Gaza claims the lives of thousands of civilians.
Mr. Biden made the blunt remarks during a fund-raiser in Washington, where he described the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “the most conservative government in Israel’s history” and said the prime minister “doesn’t want a two-state solution” to the country’s long-running dispute with Palestinians.
The president said Mr. Netanyahu “has to strengthen and change” the Israeli government. Using the prime minister’s nickname, Mr. Biden said that “Bibi’s got a tough decision to make.”
Mr. Biden’s remarks were a striking departure from the warm embrace of Israel that he has led since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and slaughtered 1,200 people. Top aides have said Mr. Biden believed that full-throated support of Israel has given the president more leverage with Mr. Netanyahu.
The president has publicly urged Israel to do more to protect civilians in Gaza in its war against Hamas, but he has largely left it to other American officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris, to call out Israel for its actions on the battlefield.