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No Biden address on Israel-Iran escalation – Politico

The US president is keeping a “low profile” to discourage tensions, his aides have told the news outlet

US President Joe Biden has avoided making a public statement on the Iranian attack on Israel at the weekend in a bid to reduce tensions and stave off potential domestic criticism over the Gaza war, Politico has reported.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday, declaring it was “punishing” the Jewish state for striking Tehran’s consulate in Damascus earlier this month. Israel, which did not publicly claim credit for killing Iranian officers at the diplomatic compound, has claimed that along with its partners, it repelled some 99% of Iranian weapons.

The US was among the nations to help defend Israel and has pledged continued support, although Biden did not comment publicly at the weekend in an effort to discourage further escalation in the Middle East, White House officials told Politico.

“Putting the president behind the Resolute Desk turns up the temperature,” one source said. “That’s something to ideally avoid.”

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Some Biden advisers hope that the Iranian attack could grant them a temporary reprieve from Democratic critics, who disagree with Washington’s response to the hostilities with Gaza, the report added. Israel launched a massive military operation in the Palestinian enclave in retaliation for an incursion by the militant movement Hamas last October which left more than 1,200 people dead.

Pro-Palestinian voices in the US, particularly from younger and progressive voters, have accused Biden of failing to keep Israel in check. The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 33,000 as a result of Israel’s bombardment, according to local health officials.

Members of Biden’s reelection team are concerned that voter discontent could cost him swing states such as Michigan during the November election, Politico said. Over 100,000 people voted “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary race in the state in February, following a campaign to show the incumbent leader their anger with his Israel policy.

April 15, 2024 at 03:51PM

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