President Joe Biden issued a public warning to Israel, urging restriction and caution in response to the recent attacks by Hamas. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, Biden warned against Israel’s occupation of Gaza, emphasizing that it would be a “big mistake.” Israel had indicated its readiness for a ground invasion of Gaza, leading to a growing humanitarian crisis within the Palestinian territory. The United States, at Biden’s urging, has been working to alleviate the ban of food, water, and gas while advocating for the protection of civilians. In Gaza, hospitals are facing a growing challenge as the number of casualties continues to rise. The United Nations has issued a warning that fuel reserves at Gaza’s hospitals are expected to run out in approximately 24 hours. The situation in Gaza’s hospitals remains critical due to the overwhelming influx of patients and the impending shortage of essential resources. The UN humanitarian office expressed concern that if backup generators were to shut down, it would endanger the lives of thousands of patients.
Biden expressed his view that the actions of Hamas and its extreme elements do not represent all Palestinians. He asserted that while Hamas should be eliminated, there must be a path to a Palestinian state, emphasizing the need for a Palestinian Authority.
These remarks mark one of the rare instances where the U.S. president has called for restraint in Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks, which resulted in 1400 casualties. Israel had responded with a significant bombing campaign in the northern Gaza Strip, the launch site of the Hamas attack. According to Gaza’s health ministry, the bombardment from Tel Aviv has led to the deaths of 2,329 Palestinians, including a quarter of them children, with nearly 10,000 wounded.
Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, clarified that Israel did not intend to occupy Gaza after the conflict ends. Biden did not explicitly call for a ceasefire during the interview.
Biden acknowledged the significant humanitarian crisis in Gaza and proposed the creation of a humanitarian corridor to aid civilians trapped in the conflict. He expressed confidence that Israel would abide by the “rules of war” and that there would be access to medicine, food, and water for Gazan civilians.
The president also ruled out the involvement of American troops in combat in the area but pledged to provide Israel with the necessary support. He stated that there was no clear evidence linking Iran to the attacks on Israel, although Iran consistently supports groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Egypt is set to reopen the Rafah crossing into Gaza to allow foreign citizens and others to evacuate ahead of a possible Israeli ground offensive. The Israeli military had announced preparations for a coordinated offensive in Gaza, mobilizing air, ground, and naval forces, and had urged citizens to move south due to concerns of Hamas using them as human shields.