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16 Oct, 2023 03:19

Biden warns Israel against Gaza ‘occupation’

The IDF must eliminate Hamas, but taking control of the territory would be a “big mistake,” according to the US president
Biden warns Israel against Gaza ‘occupation’

US President Joe Biden said he does not support any long-term Israeli occupation of Gaza, but believes that the Israel Defense Forces “going in” and “taking out the extremists” would be a “necessary requirement” to guarantee the security of the Jewish state.

The US leader vowed to provide Israel with “everything they need” to eliminate Hamas militants in Gaza, but does not expect American troops to take part in any combat operations.

“I don't think that's necessary. Israel has one of the finest fighting forces in the country. I guarantee we're gonna provide them everything they need,” Biden said in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday. 

The Israel Defense Forces said over the weekend that it is completing preparations for a “significant ground operation,” which will include a “joint and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land” in Gaza. The US commander-in-chief expressed hope that “the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”

However, Biden insisted that there is a “fundamental difference” between the Israeli civilians killed by Hamas militants and the Palestinians dying in retaliatory airstrikes.

“Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And so I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas,” the US leader said, expressing hope that “the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”

Israel occupied Gaza during the Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967, and held it for nearly 40 years until 2005, when it withdrew its troops and settlers, but retained full control of its borders. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections and assumed administrative control of the enclave. Since then, the group has engaged in several violent confrontations with Israel, triggering harsh pushbacks, but none comparable to the latest brutality.

When asked whether he would support another “Israeli occupation of Gaza at this point,” Biden said he believes it would be “a big mistake.”

“I think that… it would be a mistake to… for Israel to occupy… Gaza again,” he said. “But going in… but taking out the extremists, the Hezbollah is up north but Hamas down south, is a necessary requirement.”

The United States sent a second aircraft carrier armada to the Eastern Mediterranean, seeking to put pressure on Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other pro-Palestinian forces to stay out of the Israel-Gaza war. However, despite many US officials speculating about Iran’s possible involvement in the deadly raid which Hamas militants carried out on Israel, Biden acknowledged that “at this point” there is “no clear evidence” that Tehran knew about or helped Hamas plan the attack.

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