“I think that, as you know, initially the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in,” he said, referring to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, not Mexico. “I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate. I talked to Bibi to open the gate on the Israeli side.”
Mr. Biden’s comments revealed his increasing frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, known by his nickname Bibi, making public what has been clear in private for weeks. Mr. Biden has pressed the Israeli leader to take greater care to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, where more than 27,000 people have been killed, according to health authorities in the strip run by Hamas, and to consider creation of a Palestinian state once the war is over.
Mr. Biden has come under enormous pressure from the progressive wing of his own party to rein in Mr. Netanyahu, with protesters now regularly disrupting the president’s events and calling him names like “Genocide Joe.” At the same time, Mr. Netanyahu, under fire for not preventing the Oct. 7 attack, has sought to hold onto his right-wing coalition by standing up against Mr. Biden’s entreaties for a so-called two-state solution.
Mr. Netanyahu in recent days seemed to rebuff Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s efforts to broker a deal through intermediaries with Hamas to secure the release of more than 100 hostages still held by Hamas in exchange for a lengthy pause in the fighting. Hamas had made “ludicrous demands” that if met would “only invite another massacre,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Wednesday shortly after meeting with Mr. Blinken.
In the four months since the Hamas attack, Mr. Biden has sought to walk a careful line, emphasizing his unstinting support for Israel and shared outrage over the killings of innocent Israelis while increasingly counseling restraint on Mr. Netanyahu. At one point, he complained about “indiscriminate” bombing by Israel, but broadly speaking he has moderated his views in public, leaving it at times to other members of his administration to speak more critically.