US President Joe Biden has warned Israel is starting to lose global support amid "indiscriminate" bombing in Gaza
US President Joe Biden has warned Israel is starting to lose global support amid "indiscriminate" bombing in Gaza AFP News

US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday that the country risked losing global support for its war against Hamas because of its "indiscriminate" bombing of Gaza.

In his most blunt remarks since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, which provoked the current conflict, Biden told donors that Netanyahu needed to "change" his stance on a two-state solution for the Palestinians.

Netanyahu meanwhile said there was "disagreement" with Biden over how a post-conflict Gaza would be governed, reflecting a rare rift after weeks in which the US leader has strongly backed Israel.

Biden told a campaign event in Washington that Israel had "most of the world supporting it" after the Hamas attacks, in which Israel tallied 1,200 deaths, mostly civilians. Hundreds were also taken hostage.

"But they're starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place," Biden said.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that more than 18,400 people -- also mostly civilians -- had been killed in Israel's retaliatory bombardment of the coastal territory.

Biden had previously refrained from describing Israeli bombing as "indiscriminate."

And speaking later Tuesday at a news conference, Biden toned down his comments somewhat.

He said that the United States has to support Israel in the face of the brutality of October 7, but that "the safety of innocent Palestinians is still of great concern."

He also announced that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will be sent to Israel this week for discussions with the war cabinet.

The US president also dismissed arguments that he said Netanyahu had made about Allied forces in World War II having "carpet-bombed" Germany and used nuclear weapons against Japan.

Biden said he'd told Netanyahu that international institutions were set up after the war "to see to it that it didn't happen again" and reiterated that the United States had made "mistakes" after the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York.

Biden then said that Netanyahu had a "tough decision to make" regarding his hard-right government.

"He's a good friend, but I think he has to change, and, with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move."

"They don't want a two-state solution," he said, describing it as the "most conservative government in Israel's history."

His comments reflect a growing split over what happens after the war, with US calls for Gaza to be turned over to a strengthened Palestinian Authority receiving a cool reception in Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is currently in charge of the West Bank while Islamist Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said following a conversation with Biden that there was "disagreement" between the allies over "the day after Hamas."

The Israeli premier said he hoped "we will reach agreement here" but he vowed not to "repeat the mistake of Oslo," referring to the 1993 peace accords signed in the United States.

Washington has been calling for weeks for Israel to take more care to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, saying that too many Palestinians have been killed.

An increasing number of voices in the United States, notably from the left wing of the Democratic Party, have called on Biden to take a firmer stand toward his Israeli ally, and even to condition US military aid.

Biden sounded similar warnings about Israel losing global support during a ceremony at the White House on Monday, to mark the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

"We have to be careful. They have to be careful. The whole world's public opinion can shift overnight, we can't let that happen," he told guests.