The upcoming visit of President Joe Biden to Israel on Wednesday comes at a critical juncture for the country, grappling with its most challenging battle against the terrorist group Hamas. Speaking at a press conference, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the significance of the visit, emphasizing that it will serve to reaffirm the unwavering support of the United States for Israel during these trying times.
Blinken reiterated President Biden’s stance, stating, “US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday. He is coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world. President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel. President Biden will again make clear, as he’s done unequivocally since Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks.”
He further emphasized that President Biden will continue to work closely with Israeli partners to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas. “President Biden will underscore our crystal clear message to any actor, state or non-state trying to take advantage of this crisis to attack Israel, don’t. President will continue to coordinate closely with our Israeli partners to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas…The United States and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza,” Blinken added.
Blinken also highlighted that President Biden will receive a comprehensive briefing on Israel’s war aims and strategy, stating, “The President will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas. To that end, today and at our request, the United States and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza and them alone, including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way. It is critical that aid begins flowing into Gaza as soon as possible.”
“If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it, and we will work to prevent it from happening again,” he added.
Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement regarding President Biden’s visit to Israel, asserting, “President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to Israel on Wednesday, October 18, to demonstrate his steadfast support for Israel in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack and to consult on next steps.”
The spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Tal Heinrich, earlier announced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invitation to President Joe Biden, stating, “Prime Minister Netanyahu invited US President Joe Biden to Israel, and we hope to host the president soon. We are truly grateful for the support of the united front against the commons.”
She also mentioned the ongoing military operations, stating, “Over the last few hours, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) carried out dozens of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The targets included Hamas headquarters, mortar launching positions, and a number of terrorists at a military compound.”
Moreover, the IDF’s recent operations included the targeting of the command center of Ali Qadhi, a commander in the Hamas commando forces. “As the IDF Chief of Staff told our frontline troops, ‘attack them everywhere, every commander, every operative’…,” she added.
CNN reported that Netanyahu has invited Biden to visit Israel soon, with ongoing discussions between the two countries. This potential visit is seen as a message to other regional actors, including the Iran-backed Hezbollah, urging them to avoid escalating the conflict further.
President Biden himself recently emphasized the distinction between the victims of the Hamas attack and those involved in Israel’s counter-attack, stating, “There’s a fundamental difference. 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. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians.”
He expressed confidence in Israel’s efforts to protect innocent civilians, stating, “But to the extent they can separate out and avoid, I’m confident the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”
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