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Biden orders US military to set up temporary aid port for Gaza as famine threatens

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. military Thursday to set up a temporary port off the coast of Gaza, joining international partners in trying to carve out a sea route to deliver food and other aid to desperate Palestinian civilians cut off by the Hamas-Israel war and by Israeli restrictions on humanitarian access by land.

While reiterating his support for Israel, Biden used the announcement and the bright spotlight of his State of the Union speech to renew months of U.S. calls to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to change how he conducts the war, including by allowing in more aid to Gaza and doing more to protect humanitarian workers there.

''To the leadership of Israel I say this: Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip,'' Biden declared before Congress. He repeated calls as well for Israel to do more to protect civilians in the fighting, and to work toward Palestinian statehood as the only long-term solution to Israeli-Palestinian violence.


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