Netanyahu thanked ‘my friend’ Joe Biden for his support during Israel’s offensive in Gaza, and threatened to attack again if Hamas did

Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday. Ruptly/YouTube
  • Friday marked the first day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu lauded his country’s military and thanked Joe Biden for supportive conversations.
  • The Biden administration had been criticized by Democrats over its passive approach to a cease-fire.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked “my friend” President Joe Biden for his support of Israel during its fighting with Hamas.

Netanyahu made the comments at a press conference Friday, the first day of a cease-fire between Gaza-based militants and Israel after nearly two weeks of deadly clashes.

At the conference, Netanyahu also said that Israeli airstrikes had destroyed more than 100 kilometers, or 100km, of Hamas’ underground tunnel network and that if Hamas were to attack again, then Israel would respond in kind.

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“Not everything is known to the public yet, nor to Hamas, but the full range of achievements will be revealed over time,” Netanyahu added, according to The Jerusalem Post.

He also suggested there was no need for a ground invasion into Gaza during the conflict: “I can say that we did bold and new things – if it was necessary to do a ground invasion, we would have done it, but I thought we could achieve the goal in safer ways,” he said.

Gaza
Fire and smoke rose above buildings in Gaza City after strikes from Israel on Tuesday. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The air attacks between Israel and Hamas – which involved Israel launching airstrikes into Gaza, and Hamas firing rockets toward Israel – resulted in dozens of deaths, mostly on the Palestinian side. Dozens of children were among those reported killed.

Congressional Democrats had criticized the Biden administration over its passive public approach to a cease-fire as other countries urged for a swift cessation of hostilities.

Axios reported on Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had quietly told his Israeli counterpart that the US could not publicly support the Israeli offensive for much longer.

Shortly after the Thursday cease-fire announcement by Israel and Hamas, Biden lauded the move and called for further progress between Israelis and Palestinians. He also promised aid to Gaza for its reconstruction efforts.