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Netanyahu promises to increase aid to Gaza after a phone call with Biden

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Biden's 30-minute phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resulted in an Israeli promise to increase the flow of aid to Gaza, which the U.N. says is at imminent risk of famine. This call came after Israeli airstrikes killed seven workers with the food charity World Central Kitchen in Gaza. Biden said he was, quote, "outraged and heartbroken," unquote, by the killings. And Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANTONY BLINKEN: This week's horrific attack on the World Central Kitchen was not the first such incident. It must be the last.

MARTIN: Now the Israeli military says it has concluded an investigation into the strikes. NPR's Daniel Estrin is with us now from Tel Aviv to tell us what they concluded. Good morning, Daniel.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Michel.

MARTIN: So what is the Israeli military saying?

ESTRIN: Well, it says this - these strikes were carried out in serious violation of military operating procedures. The military says it has dismissed and reprimanded several senior military officers. These strikes earlier this week were on one of the most prominent aid or operations in Gaza. This is World Central Kitchen, run by the famous chef Jose Andres, who's in Washington, D.C. This is a group that has been delivering food to Gaza by ship and in full coordination with Israel. But on Monday night, the military struck the group's three-car convoy.

The Israeli military says now that it had coordinated the aid group's movements, but that coordination had not been communicated down the chain of command to the soldiers on the ground who carried out the strikes, who saw gunmen in the vicinity, who they say did not identify the convoy as being from the aid group. And - but this has really become a turning point in this war because President Biden called on Netanyahu to take steps to prevent it in the future.

MARTIN: Say more, if you would, about that phone call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which followed these airstrikes. Tell us about it.

ESTRIN: Yeah, it was last night. And Secretary Blinken said that the president told Netanyahu that strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are, quote, "unacceptable." And Biden said that Israel needs to announce a series of specific, concrete steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and the safety of aid workers. You know, for the first time, Biden said that Israel's behavior would determine what U.S. policy will be on Gaza going forward. So, Michel, you see Biden's patience wearing thin. And this strike appears to really be a turning point in U.S. support for Israel - Biden conditioning it on Israel changing its course.

MARTIN: And before we let you go, Daniel, the president also apparently told Netanyahu to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay for a cease-fire and hostage release. Can you tell us where those talks stand?

ESTRIN: Those talks appear to be stalled. And, you know, when Biden is calling on Netanyahu to empower his negotiators, there are - there have been Israeli media reports that Netanyahu has actually been limiting his negotiators' authority to reach a final deal. And so Biden is signaling here that Israel can do more to try to reach a final deal, a cease-fire and a deal to free its hostages in Gaza.

MARTIN: That is NPR's Daniel Estrin in Tel Aviv. Daniel, thank you.

ESTRIN: You're very welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.