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Hamas is the problem - Former Israeli PM Bennett rejects Biden assessment of Gaza's humanitarian situation

Bennett repeatedly accuses Hamas of stealing humanitarian aid, keeping it from the people of Gaza

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" (Photo: Screenshot

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s assessment of the humanitarian situation in Gaza following the president’s State of the Union address on Thursday night. 

During his speech, Biden stated: “Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure that humanitarian workers aren’t caught in the crossfire.” 

The American president also said: “Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.” 

Speaking with Kristen Welker of NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” former PM Bennett said he did not agree with Biden’s statements. 

“No, I don’t agree,” Bennett responded. “The problem is not the amount of aid going into Gaza.” 

He said that Hamas is to blame for the humanitarian aid crisis in Gaza. 

“The problem is that Hamas is hijacking that aid, robbing that aid, taking it to itself and then selling it back in the black market in Gaza at about ten-fold the price, and many Gazans can’t afford it,” Bennett argued. 

Bennett also pushed back against the idea that Israel was using the issue of humanitarian aid as “a negotiation chip.”

“We are not using this as a negotiation chip or anything of that sort,” Bennett responded, “the problem is that Hamas is stopping that aid from reaching the people who need that aid.” 

Bennett said Hamas’ behavior demonstrates why Israel needs to “defeat Hamas, clean Hamas, and then form a new Gaza.” 

Welker also asked Bennett, “Why can’t the US and Israel work together on expanding humanitarian access?” before referencing the new temporary port in Gaza which Biden referred to in his SOTU speech. 

On Saturday evening, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari echoed Bennett’s statements.

“Hamas has been stealing humanitarian aid and stockpiling equipment and food for Ramadan for Hamas terrorist leaders instead of the Gazan civilians in need.” 

Hagari also said that Israel is cooperating with the United States on the construction of the temporary port. 

“With our partners in the United States and CENTCOM, we are coordinating a temporary floating pier to get more humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Hagari stated.

“We will continue our humanitarian efforts while we continue to dismantle Hamas military capabilities and do everything we can to bring our hostages home.” 

Bennett affirmed that the State of Israel is pleased with “any methodology” in delivering aid to Gazan civilians but repeated his argument that the problem is what happens after aid reaches Gaza. 

“Once it [the aid] reaches Gaza, you have the Hamas terrorists who take over and siphon off a big portion of the food so some people in Gaza don’t get that food.” 

“I want to emphasize, we are talking about a terror government that, unfortunately, was elected by the people of Gaza in democratic elections,” Bennett continued.

He reminded viewers that Hamas has pledged to repeat the Oct. 7 invasion and attack.

“The best way to solve this problem is to accelerate the defeat of Hamas.” 

Bennett's interview came one day before Biden spoke with MSNBC and repeated his criticism of Israel's handling of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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