AXIOS: Biden is very concerned about losing young voters over the war in Gaza

AXIOS: Biden is very concerned about losing young voters over the war in Gaza

Shafaq News/ U.S. President Biden last week pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scale down the Israeli military operation in Gaza, stressing he is not in it for a year of war, two U.S. officials told Axios.

In a call last Friday, the U.S. expressed concern about the continuation of the war and the president's desire to see it end long before the November elections.

A Biden adviser told Axios the White House is very concerned about losing young voters, many of whom are opposed to the president's policy on the Gaza war.

A source close to the White House said Biden can't have the war and the growing death toll to continue dominating the news cycle as the elections get closer.

According to Axios, at least a third of Biden's 40-minute call with Netanyahu on Jan. 19 focused on the Israeli timetable for moving to low-intensity operations across the Gaza Strip and Israel's war strategy as a whole, one U.S. official said.

Netanyahu had said the war would continue for "many more months." Speaking to the Israeli leader about that comment, Biden urged Netanyahu to move faster to low-intensity operations that would decrease the number of civilian casualties, two U.S. officials said.

Biden asked Netanyahu several times for his plan and strategy in Gaza and said he doesn't understand the "end state" the Israeli leader is envisioning for the enclave, the U.S. officials said.

Netanyahu told Biden that the transition to low-intensity fighting occurred in northern Gaza and will happen in the south. Still, the officials added that Israel needs more time than it originally thought.

Netanyahu also said that Hamas would return if the Israel Defense Forces left Gaza.

During the call, Biden asked Netanyahu to allow a U.N. mission into northern Gaza to assess the conditions for a future return of Palestinian civilians, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation.

He also asked that flour be moved through Israel's Ashdod port to Gaza and for Israel to help streamline the delivery of aid from Jordan through the Kerem Shalom border between Israel and the southern part of the Strip.

Netanyahu agreed to all three requests, the source said. It's unclear, however, when Israel may move on them.

A significant portion of the call between Netanyahu and Biden was focused on the ongoing talks aimed at reaching a deal to secure the release of the more than 130 hostages still being held in Gaza, the source with direct knowledge of the call said.

U.S. officials have acknowledged that reaching a new hostage deal might be the only path that could lead to a ceasefire in Gaza.

Axios said that Biden has become increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu in recent weeks.

The Jan. 19 call was the first between the two leaders in nearly a month. During their previous call on Dec. 23, a frustrated Biden ended it by saying the "conversation is over" and hanging up the phone.

In the first two months of the war that began Oct. 7, the two leaders had talked almost every other day.

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