Biden offers Israelis support, Palestinians aid in Tel Aviv | Inquirer News

Biden offers Israelis support, Palestinians aid in Tel Aviv

/ 09:08 AM October 19, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the press onboard of Air Force One en route from Israel at Ramstein Air Base

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the press in front of the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, onboard of Air Force One en route from Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

TEL AVIV — U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that a deadly blast at a Gaza Strip hospital appeared to be from “an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group,” and he pledged support to Israelis and humanitarian assistance to suffering Palestinians.

Flying home after a brief Tel Aviv visit, Biden told reporters he had been blunt with the Israelis about the need to support getting aid to Palestinians in Gaza.


“Israel has been badly victimized but the truth is they have an opportunity to relieve suffering of people who have nowhere to go … it’s what they should do,” Biden said during a refueling stop for Air Force One at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.


Biden praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for agreeing to open the Rafah border crossing to allow 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza and pledged the U.S. would get people trapped in Gaza out.

“We’re going to get people out,” Biden said without offering details.

Biden traveled to Israel to offer U.S. support in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack on Israeli villages and military bases by Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas gunmen who killed 1,400 people and took about 200 hostages, Israel has said.

His trip was upended by a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital on Tuesday evening. Palestinian officials blamed it on an Israeli air strike. Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, which denied blame.

“Based on the information we’ve seen to date, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group from Gaza,” Biden said.

“The United States unequivocally stands for the protection of civilian life during conflict and I grieve … for the families who were killed or wounded by this tragedy.”


Biden later told reporters he understood why some people across the region were sceptical about who was responsible. “I don’t say things like that unless I have faith in the source I got it … our Defense Department says it’s highly unlikely it’s the Israelis,” he said.

The White House said Biden would speak from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday (0000 GMT on Friday) about the Israel-Hamas conflict and the war in Ukraine.

Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment is brought to a hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment is brought to a hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

New aid

Biden said the U.S. would provide $100 million in new funding for humanitarian aid in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. The United States has urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid in to help Palestinians.

The president said he would ask Congress this week for unprecedented aid to boost Israel in its fight with Hamas, aid that is expected to be folded into a massive $100 billion package in Congress.

The 20 trucks carrying aid via the Rafah crossing would cross into Gaza in coming days, a White House official said, adding the U.S. hoped more trucks would be allowed entry eventually.

Biden said Israelis should not give into their “rage” after the attack and follow the law of war.

“You are a Jewish state, but you’re also a democracy,” Biden said after meeting Israeli leaders. “Like the United States, you don’t live by the rules of terrorists. You live by the rule of law…. You can’t give up what makes you who you are.”

Biden stressed that the vast majority of Palestinians were not affiliated with Hamas.

“Palestinian people are suffering greatly as well,” Biden said. Retaliatory Israeli strikes after the Hamas attacks have killed more than 3,000 Palestinians, Palestinian authorities say.

About the same time on Wednesday, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have called for pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

The president referred to the Nazi Holocaust of World War Two when saying that Israel had the backing of its friends.

“We will not stand by and do nothing again. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever,” he said.

Earlier he said he had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tough questions during a meeting where they also discussed humanitarian needs, security assistance and information on unaccounted Americans.

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“I asked tough questions as a friend of Israel. We will continue to deter any actor wanting to widen this conflict.” Biden said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.


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TAGS: Israel-Hamas war, Joe Biden, world news

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