President Joe Biden addressed Israelis on Wednesday on television from Tel Aviv to pledge America’s unwavering support to stand with the Jewish state.
“The U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel without a shred of daylight,” said Joe Biden.
President Biden is the first U.S. president to visit Israel at a time of war.
In a compassionate and empathetic message, he shared his own personal loss of loved ones. His late wife and daughter died in a car crash over 50 years ago when he was first elected to the US Senate in 1972. His son, Beau, died from cancer in 2015.
He reminded those who lost loved ones that when “a smile comes to you before a tear in your eye,” you will be alright.
His message to Iran, and perhaps, to any other state or non-state actors thinking of taking advantage of the situation and harming Israel, was as consistent as the message given by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s colleagues speaking during a webinar briefing on Tuesday - “Don’t Don’t Don’t…”
Although on Israeli soil, Biden gave a gentle warning also to Israel and its leaders to not be consumed by hate and revenge because war-time leaders can make regretful mistakes.
He reminded those tuning in that America knows only too well having made mistakes following the fateful attacks on 911.
Biden reiterated the comparisons of Hamas to ISiS echoing the brutal and heinous attacks against innocent civilians.
He noted that the US Department of Defense did their own independent analysis of the rocket that hit near al-Alhi Arab Hospital on Tuesday.
American intelligence officials concluded that the rocket was not Israel’s. It was an Islamic Jihad misfired rocket over the parking lot.
Palestinians authorities have stated that 471 have died and another 300 were injured.
Reminding Israelis that they are a Jewish state that lives by the rule of law, he cautioned that there is power in leading by example, and once again, reminded Israelis that the US will stand by Israel in these “dark days.”
He elevated his own hope that humanitarian aid would be delivered to those in need, and that the southern Gaza border gate would be opened so the Red Cross was allowed to visit the hostages.
Biden has committed that he will ask the U.S. Congress for a package of support for $100 billion for Gaza and the West Bank.
On Capitol Hill, Biden is expected to deliver a supplemental package by the end of the week, but it is expected be rolled into a supplemental package that includes aid for Ukraine and Taiwan as well.
Although it was the message that Israelis may have wanted to hear, it is unclear whether Israelis’ enemies or Arab leaders were in total agreement.
Critics have argued that civilians would not have been in the parking lot adjacent to the hospital if Israel had not been bombarding Gaza with rockets.
The dynamics are complicated when raging tempers run high in three fronts in Gaza, West Bank and on the border with Lebanon. In East Jerusalem, there is a very large support for Hamas.
Biden and his US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been working to unite the Arab leaders on the Arabian Peninsula since the Oct. 7 attacks, but not all talks have been successful. The summit in Amman, Jordan following Biden’s trip to Israel was cancelled following the strike against the hospital on Tuesday.
Thousands were on the streets on Tuesday in the West Bank protesting the strike. On Wednesday, protestors again were on the streets not far from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Immediately following Biden’s address, the Israeli Cabinet issued a statement announcing they have agreed to open the southern Gaza gate bordering Egypt where humanitarian trucks have been lined up and waiting.
But, they have a caveat that food, water and medicine must be distributed in the southern Gaza Strip only and not delivered to Hamas.
Israel will not allow any of its humanitarian aid to be delivered into Gaza unless the hostages are returned.
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