In a White House address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden made clear that Israel will have the unequivocal support of the United States as it responds to the terrorist attack launched by Hamas over the weekend, adding that Israel had a right and duty to respond to the attacks.
“In this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel,” the president said in the televised remarks.
Biden compared the “pure, unadulterated evil” of Hamas’ violence to the brutality of ISIS. He said the attack has led to the deaths of more than 1,000 civilians.
“Parents butchered using their bodies to try to protect their children,” Biden continued. “Stomach-turning reports of babies being killed. Entire families slain. Young people massacred while attending a musical festival to celebrate peace.”
Biden said that he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if the United States experienced a similar attack, the US response would be “swift, decisive, and overwhelming.”
At the same time, Biden pointed to the need for restraint following a pledge by Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, to cut off food, electricity, and water to Gaza. Biden said he and Netanyahu discussed how both nations are stronger when they act in accordance with the rule of law. “Terrorists purposefully target civilians and kill them,” Biden said. “We uphold the law of war. It matters.”
“Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination,” he stressed. “Their stated purpose is the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.”
Israeli officials say the bodies of about 1,500 Hamas militants have been found within Israel and in the Gaza Strip. Palestine’s health ministry has reported that more than 830 Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes and retaliation.
The US is now moving military assets closer to Israel to try to deter other nations and militant groups from getting involved in the war. “Let me say again to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation,” Biden said. “I have one word: Don’t. Don’t. Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear.”