U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group, emphasizing the need to eliminate Hamas while advocating for a path to a Palestinian state. His comments came as U.S. officials expressed concerns about the escalating conflict.
President Biden expressed confidence in Israel’s capabilities and stated that he did not believe American troops would be required on the ground.
American warships were en route to the region as tensions continued to rise along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
The conflict had intensified after Hamas launched unprecedented attacks on Israel, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians.
When asked if he believed Hamas should be eliminated entirely, President Biden responded affirmatively, stressing the importance of establishing a Palestinian authority and a path to a Palestinian state.
He cautioned against Israel occupying Gaza again but emphasized the necessity of addressing Hezbollah and Hamas.
Notably, Israel had captured and occupied various territories in the 1967 Middle East war, later withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, before Hamas’ takeover in 2007.
The situation raised concerns about a potential escalation, with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warning of the risk of a second front opening in the north and Iran’s involvement.
Gaza authorities reported a high casualty toll, with over 2,670 people killed, including a significant number of children. As Israel prepared for a possible ground assault in the densely populated enclave, casualties were expected to rise.
In response to the escalating conflict, the U.S. deployed a second aircraft carrier group and reinforced its presence in the eastern Mediterranean. This move was seen as a deterrent against further escalation, particularly considering Iran’s involvement.
President Biden urged Iran not to escalate the conflict, acknowledging that unrest in the Middle East had increased the threat of terrorism.
Despite these challenges, he believed the U.S. could manage its international defense responsibilities.
The violence was not confined to Gaza, as clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon escalated.
Hezbollah, backed by Iran, launched attacks, prompting Israeli retaliation.
Amid these developments, the U.S. called on Israel to delay its ground offensive to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza’s trapped residents.
Additionally, discussions were ongoing regarding a new weapons package for Israel and Ukraine.
Senator Lindsey Graham announced plans to introduce a bill for military action by the United States in conjunction with Israel if Iran attacked Israel, potentially disrupting Iran’s oil business.
Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the U.S. appointed a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues.
Efforts were being made to reopen the Egyptian-controlled border crossing into Gaza to facilitate aid delivery and the evacuation of foreign passport holders.
President Biden stressed the importance of protecting civilians and ensuring their access to essential resources.
As the situation remained volatile, the U.S. sought to balance support for Israel’s security with humanitarian concerns in Gaza.