Khanna says Biden ‘needs to do something bold,’ especially with Israel-Hamas war

Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.) suggested on Sunday that President Biden “do something bold” and call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza as support from his base appears to be wavering.

CBS News “Face The Nation,” anchor Margarett Brennan presented polling showing nearly twice as many Democrats rate Biden’s presidency fair or poor compared with Republicans who say the same about former President Trump and claimed the president is “having a problem with his base.”

 “And that’s why I think he needs to do something bold… this is a problem,” Khanna said Sunday. “But if he can turn it around, not just by calling for a ceasefire, if he becomes the first American president to convince Gulf allies, to convene Israel, to convene municipal leaders in Palestine and civic society and said, ‘I’m going to get this done. I’m going to recognize a Palestinian state, I’m going to have a two-state solution, and I’m going to recognize that the security of Israel matters, that the end of occupation matters, he can become a hero.”

Khanna, earlier in the interview, said he has been” “very direct” in his criticism of Biden’s Middle East policy and argued what Biden needs to do is to “stop the killing, the suffering.”

“And my plea to this President, who I support deeply is, Mr. President, call for a permanent ceasefire,” Khanna said. “There’s too much suffering, and the release of all hostages. The policy of bear hugging Netanyahu has not worked.”

Khanna’s suggestion comes as a temporary ceasefire deal between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas continues to be negotiated by the two parties, along with international leaders, including CIA Director William Burns.

Israel has reportedly agreed  to the framework of a proposed temporary ceasefire and hostage release deal, according to a senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity with The Associated Press on Saturday. The official said the Israelis “have more or less accepted” the framework, leaving the decision up to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, per the news wire.

If accepted, the deal would include a six-week ceasefire and Hamas would release hostages considered at risk, according to the U.S. official. It would also pave the way for a larger influx of humanitarian aid into Gaza, which has been devastated by Israel’s military operations. 

Immediately following Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel — which killed 1,200 people and took about 250 people hostage — the Biden administration offered its unwavering support to its allied nation.

As the war approaches the five-month mark, however, and the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza climbs past 30,000, U.S. leaders and much of the international community has mounted pressure on Israel to scale back its retaliatory military campaign to prevent civilian casualties.

Brennan asked Khanna if publicly criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an election year would bode well for Biden’s reelection, to which he said, ” Yes. You know who was? President Obama and he won two terms.”

Brennan pointed on then-Vice President Biden did not agree with Obama at the time on his approach.

The Hill reached out to the White House for comment.

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More than 40 percent of Americans believe Israel has gone too far in Hamas war response: Poll

More than 40 percent of Americans now believe Israel has gone “too far” in its response to militant group Hamas in Gaza, according to a new poll.

The survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal found  that 42 percent of Americans believe Israel’s actions in Gaza following Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 has gone “too far.” Nineteen percent say it has not gone far enough, 24 percent said it’s been about right and 15 percent did not know or refused to answer.

The Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel left about 1,200 people dead while another appromately 240 people were captured by militants and brought into Gaza as hostages. In the months since, Israel has waged attacks on Gaza in what it says are efforts to eliminate Hamas.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said last week more than 30,000 Palestinians  have died in the fighting since the onset of the war. The authorities do not distinguish between fighters and civilians, but local health officials and the United Nations have indicated that most of the dead are women and children. 

The poll also asked respondents on their thoughts to the U.S. providing enough support to Israel and the Palestinian people. Thirty percent said the U.S. was doing too much to support Israel, 25 percent said it was too little and 32 percent said it was about the right amount.

The percentage of those believing the U.S. has done too much to support Israel has gone up since December, when just 22 percent said it was too much.

The percentage of those saying that the U.S. has done too little to support the Palestinian people has also gone up since December. The latest poll found that 33 percent said the U.S. is doing too little, up from the 26 percent who said so in December.

Twenty-four percent said the U.S. was giving the too much support and 25 percent said it was the right amount of support given to the Palestinians. This poll comes as the U.S. has started to deliver humanitarian aid  in Gaza with cargo planes on Saturday morning amid the ongoing war.

The poll was conducted among 750 registered voters Feb. 21-28 and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

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Rubio says ‘there’s no way’ Russia takes all of Ukraine

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday offered his prediction for how the Russia-Ukraine war could unfold, arguing neither side will “achieve victory as defined in the most idealistic terms.”

When asked by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream how much “pressure” the U.S. or other international leaders should put on Russia and Ukraine to find a solution, Rubio said, “I’m not going to set parameters on what that looks like. It’s not our place to do that; it’s premature to do that.”

“Here’s what I do know, there is no way that the Russia Federation takes Ukraine, all of Ukraine, half of Ukraine and that was [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s goal from the beginning was to carve it up into half… at least half the country, including Kyiv, that’s not going to happen,” Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, continued.

Rubio, however, said it is important to look at the “reality” of Ukraine’s size and ability in comparison to Russia.

“We have the reality of it is that Ukraine is small compared to Russia in terms of size and its ability to bring scale, its ability to force, conscript people… I’m just being honest,” he said. “You know, in the past, I have tried not to talk about this publicly because I thought it undermined the leverage that Ukraine had, but now it’s the reality.”

Russia’s war with Ukraine surpassed its two-year mark late last month, with neither side appearing open to conceding. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week said losing the war against Russia would amount to the same tragic end as death.

“Neither side is going to be able to achieve victory as defined in the most idealistic terms,” Rubio said. “So then the question becomes if in fact, there’s going to be a negotiated settlement, who’s going to have the leverage here? Is it going to be Putin or is it going to be Ukraine, and I want Ukraine to have the most amount of leverage possible when the time comes for those conversations to happen.”

The Florida Republican argued Putin wants Ukraine to become “basically a satellite state,” like Belarus, in which the country is forced to “remain neutral.”

Increasing divisions among lawmakers have left U.S. aid for Ukraine in limbo for nearly a year as Congress struggles to agree on further funding for the Eastern European nation. Rubio, along with most of the GOP conference , voted against a bipartisan border security deal last month that would’ve also unlocked aid for the country.

Rubio also voted against a $95 billion emergency defense spending bill last month, including about $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. The deal passed in the upper chamber and headed to the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) faces pressure to bring it to the floor. Johnson has signaled he will not bring the legislation to the floor as it lacks the border security provisions demanded by House GOP members in recent months.

Rubio on Sunday reiterated his argument that while he believes the U.S. should help Ukraine, this can only be after further action is taken on the U.S. southern border.

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