Netanyahu Rejects Schumer Call for Israeli Election

Netanyahu Dismisses Schumer’s Appeal for Israeli Elections

The tension between Israel and its key ally, the United States, over the conflict in Gaza escalated on Sunday. Israel’s Prime Minister made a strong accusation against a high-ranking American lawmaker. He claimed the lawmaker was treating Israel unfairly.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under growing pressure to seek a cease-fire, criticized Senator Chuck Schumer. Schumer had suggested that Israel should hold elections after the war. Netanyahu, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” implied that Schumer was attempting to undermine his government. He labeled Schumer’s election suggestion as completely out of line.

Netanyahu emphasized that decisions about elections are made by Israel and its citizens alone. He firmly stated, “We’re not a banana republic.”

On Thursday, Senator Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the most senior Jewish official in the U.S., made a strong speech in the Senate. He accused Netanyahu of prioritizing his political survival over Israel’s best interests. Schumer also criticized Netanyahu for being overly accepting of the civilian casualties in Gaza.

Schumer’s speech highlighted the growing divide between Israel and the United States regarding the war. It also reflected Washington’s increasing frustration with Netanyahu’s policies. President Biden commended Schumer’s speech but did not fully support the call for a new election.

A major point of contention is the challenge of delivering food and aid to the Gaza Strip.

As the humanitarian crisis deepens, the United States began airdropping food and water into the area this month. On Friday, a maritime shipment of aid arrived in northern Gaza, marking the first such delivery in nearly two decades. Another shipment from Cyprus to Gaza is expected soon.

In the coming weeks, the United States plans to construct a floating dock near Gaza’s coast. The White House announced this could eventually facilitate the delivery of up to two million meals a day in Gaza.

These efforts aim to increase aid to Gaza, where severe hunger and malnutrition are widespread, according to the United Nations. However, experts and humanitarian organizations argue that the best solution is a cease-fire between Israelis and Hamas, which initiated the conflict on October 7.

Sarah Schiffling, a humanitarian logistics and supply chain expert, noted that delivering and securing aid is challenging during an active conflict.

Cease-fire discussions are anticipated to accelerate soon.

On Sunday, as a second ship loaded with aid prepared to leave for Gaza, José Andrés, the founder of the food charity behind the effort, called for a cease-fire. He urged Israel to do more to alleviate hunger in Gaza.

Andrés highlighted the urgency of providing food and water, criticizing the political barriers hindering aid delivery.

He expressed his hope to significantly increase the amount of food his organization brings to Gaza.

Despite the attention World Central Kitchen’s maritime deliveries have garnered, they represent only a small portion of the aid needed to prevent famine, according to the United Nations. Andrés acknowledged the necessity of overland deliveries but emphasized doing what is possible under the circumstances.

The first ship, the Open Arms, delivered food equivalent to about 10 truckloads – far less than the 500 trucks a day aid groups say are necessary.

Aid organizations have urged Israel to allow more trucks into Gaza through additional land crossings. World Central Kitchen has sent over 1,400 aid trucks by land and established more than 60 community kitchens in Gaza. However, only about 150 trucks enter Gaza daily through the two open crossings, limited by extensive Israeli inspections.

The restrictions have prompted donors like the European Union and the United States to seek creative solutions, such as the Cyprus-to-Gaza maritime route and a temporary floating pier off Gaza’s coast for ship deliveries.

The U.S. military also airdropped nearly 29,000 meals and 34,500 bottles of water in northern Gaza on Sunday. Little aid has reached the north since Israel’s early assault in the war.

Mr. Netanyahu declared that Israel would continue fighting in Gaza until achieving “complete victory.” He announced plans for military operations in Rafah, aiming to target Hamas and relieve hostages.

He confirmed Israel had approved military plans for Rafah, including relocating civilians from combat zones.

President Biden emphasized the need for a plan to ensure the safety and support of over one million people sheltering in Rafah, according to the White House.

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah, exhausted from nearly six months of war, fear a ground invasion could lead to significant civilian casualties.