President Joe Biden wrapped up a high-stakes diplomatic visit to Israel today (Oct. 18). He secured a key commitment from the Israeli government to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. The trip was aimed at showing solidarity with the U.S. ally and urging restraint in response to the attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7.
“I come to Israel with a simple message: You are not alone,” Biden declared in Tel Aviv. Directly addressing the anger felt in Israel, he cautioned, “You can’t look at what has happened here and not scream out for justice. While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it.”
Per ABC News, the president also invoked the U.S. experience following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He stated, “After Sept. 11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”
A significant outcome of Biden’s talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet was the country’s agreement to let limited quantities of aid flow into Gaza from Egypt. The deal followed a week-long blockade of the Rafah border crossing, virtually isolating the Palestinian city.
“Let me be clear: If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people, and it will end as a practical matter. It will stop the international community from being able to provide this aid,” Biden stated.
POTUS also faced public backlash for his pledge of $100 million in new U.S. aid for humanitarian efforts in both Gaza and the West Bank.
On Twitter, he wrote, “Let me make myself clear: The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas. And Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.”
According to AP News, Israel cut off essential supplies like food, water, and fuel to Gaza following the Hamas attacks, which resulted in nearly 1,400 casualties. The offensive by Hamas was reportedly in response to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.