Sun. May 26th, 2024

President Joe Biden continues to offer unwavering support for Israel amid the Israel-Hamas War, which has left thousands of civilians dead in Israel and Gaza since it began earlier this month.

As airstrikes continue daily in Gaza and many Palestinians remain without basic necessities due to the blockade, Biden has come under scrutiny for his support of Israel as Americans remain divided. 

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Some lawmakers and global leaders have criticized Biden, with one State Department official even resigning over the decision to continue sending arms to Israel. Young American liberals, many of whom voted for the President, are especially vocal in support of Palestinians and demanding the president end his support of Israel’s airstrikes.

And in a rare Oval Office address on Thursday night, the President recognized that the world was facing “an inflection point in history — one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come.” 

Here’s what President Biden has said on the Israel-Hamas war so far: 

Biden denounces Hamas attack

On Oct. 10, Biden publicly denounced Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack, which left 1,400 people dead in Israel. Biden called the attack “sheer evil” and “sickening.” 

“We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack,” Biden said on Oct. 10 about “America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East.” 

Biden says he is sending ammunition and aid to Israel 

Also on Oct.10, Biden committed to sending additional ammunition to help support Israeli Defense Forces. U.S. navy ships and planes have been sent to support the country, with one warship blowing up cruise missiles and multiple drones in defense of Israel on Oct.19. U.S. security officials are also consulting with Israeli forces on their intelligence operations to help recover the approximately 200 people who were taken hostage by Hamas at gunpoint during the attack on Israel.

In addition to the aid to Israel that has already been rolled out, President Biden is also expected to ask Congress for an emergency fund package that would send at least $14 billion in military assistance to Israel on Oct. 20.

During his visit to Israel, Biden says he will make sure the country has what they need

On Oct 18, 11 days after Israel’s official declaration of war on Hamas, President Biden made a wartime trip. The reasoning behind his visit was simple, Biden said. 

“I wanted the people of Israel, the people of the world to know where the United States stands,” the president remarked on Wednesday, reiterating that the U.S. would continue to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself. It was the first time a U.S. president made a trip to Israel during a war.

Biden also compared the Hamas attack to 9/11, and warned Israel to not be consumed by rage.

“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.” 

Biden comments on Gaza hospital blast

There have been conflicting reports about who was responsible for the rocket blast at Al-Ahli Hospital on Oct. 17 that left hundreds of people dead, according to a UN report. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike for the disaster, while the Israeli military said the rocket was fired by the militant group Islamic Jihad in a misfire. A spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad denied those allegations. TIME cannot independently confirm the group responsible for the attack. 

During Biden’s trip, he said that evidence provided to American officials showed that Israel wasn’t behind the attack.

“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting on Wednesday. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure. So we’ve got a lot, we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”

Biden announces aid to Gaza

After Biden’s visit, Israeli officials agreed on Oct. 18 to allow humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza. Humanitarian aid will now be allowed to move from Egypt to Gaza through the border crossing at Rafah, so long as Hamas does not receive any assistance. 

That same day, President Biden announced that the United States would be providing $100 million in aid for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians have been left without access to water, food, and electricity, amid a blockade by the Israeli government.  More than a million people have been displaced after the Israeli military instructed civilians to evacuate northern Gaza and head south.  

The assistance is going to help bring food, clean water, medical care, and more to the region. Humanitarian aid will be given through international NGOs and the United Nations. 

“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism,” Biden said in a press release

But on Oct. 18, the U.S. also became the only country to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have called for a ceasefire to bring aid. Because the U.S. is one of five permanent members on the council, their vote put that measure on pause.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the veto was because the “resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defense.”

Biden gives a primetime speech

On Oct. 19, President Biden made a public oval office address, during which he spoke to viewers about the need for American involvement in global wars.  

The President said that support of Israel and Ukraine was integral to America’s national security. “History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” Biden said. “They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising.”  

The President once again spoke of his commitment to supporting Israel’s military while mentioning that he urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to protect civilians in Gaza during the ongoing war. 

“As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution,” Biden said. “Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity, and peace.”

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