The Biden administration showed no new signs on Friday that it was prepared to take a tougher line on Israel’s military operation against Hamas as desperate conditions in Gaza grew even worse, with civilian deaths rising and aid groups warning of shortages of water, food and medicine.
Biden officials say Israel must do more to limit civilian casualties and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. But that still leaves America’s position far from that of many Arab countries, which are demanding an immediate cease-fire and blame Israel for what they call a profoundly disproportionate response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
During a visit to Washington on Friday, ministers from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations said at a news conference that the Israeli offensive must stop, with Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, accusing Israel of committing a “massacre.”
In New York on Friday, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates that called for a humanitarian cease-fire — a lonely position against 13 votes in favor.
While under growing pressure at home and abroad, the Biden administration has been trying to persuade Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians. But it has not publicly threatened Israel with any specific consequences if it does not. White House officials brush off talk of cutting or conditioning military aid to Israel and say they have not given Israel a firm deadline to finish its offensive in Gaza.