The president of the United States, Joe Biden, arrived this Wednesday in Tel Aviv to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the country’s president, Isaac Herzog, hours after the massacre in a Gaza hospital that left hundreds of dead, according to the authorities of the Strip.
The US presidential plane landed around 10:55 in Tel Aviv, where it was received by Netanyahu and Herzog, with hugs. The initial idea was for Biden to also travel to Jordan to meet with the leaders of Palestine, Egypt and Jordan, but he has finally canceled the visit to this country. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had stated that he wanted to be in Palestine after the explosion at the Gaza hospital.
Following his meeting with Netanyahu, the prime minister’s office announced that it will allow a “limited amount of humanitarian aid” to enter through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. In a statement, the head of government’s office explained that the measure has been adopted at the request of Biden, who sought precisely to unblock an agreement in that regard, which his Secretary of State had not achieved at the beginning of the week.
However, Israel has said it will be vigilant so that supplies do not reach the hands of Hamas and has not specified when the humanitarian shipments that have accumulated in recent days in Egypt can begin to enter. Furthermore, it has clarified that “it will not allow any humanitarian assistance from its territory to the Gaza Strip as long as the captives are not returned,” in reference to the 199 hostages kidnapped by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Biden himself has confirmed that “Israel agreed that humanitarian assistance can begin to move from Egypt to Gaza,” but he has not specified when or how much of the 3,000 tons that are in Egyptian territory will enter, according to local authorities. “We are working in close cooperation with the Government of Egypt, the United Nations and its agencies, such as the World Food Program, and other partners in the region to get trucks across the border as soon as possible,” Biden said.
In addition, it has announced a relief fund of $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Gaza and the occupied West Bank, in support of more than one million people displaced by the conflict. In this way, Biden also reaches out to the Palestinians and tries to calm the mood among his Arab allies, who have turned their backs on him, after the White House has endorsed from the first moment Israel’s version of the attack on the Al Ahli hospital.
“The other side”
After landing in Tel Aviv with Air Force One, Biden gave a joint statement with Netanyahu stating that, according to the evidence he has seen, the attack on the Gaza hospital, where according to Palestinian sources at least 500 people died, “it appears” be the work of “the other side”, not the Israeli Army. “I am deeply saddened and outraged by yesterday’s explosion at the Gaza hospital. From what I’ve seen, it seems like the other side did it, not you. But there are a lot of people who are not sure, so we have to overcome a lot of things,” the American president said in front of the television cameras.
According to Palestinian health sources, at least 500 people died in a bombing at the Al Ahli hospital that Palestinian groups attribute to an Israeli attack. Israel has denied being responsible and has assured that the building is not destroyed, that it has not suffered serious damage and that there was only a minor explosion in the adjacent parking lot caused by a failed rocket from the armed group Islamic Jihad, which has denied these claims. affirmations.
From Washington, US officials have indicated that, based on various evidence, such as satellite images and videos, they have reached a preliminary conclusion that the explosion was caused by a rocket launched by Islamic Jihad.
The spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, wanted to emphasize that the information shows that Israel “is not responsible” for the explosion at the hospital. “While we continue to gather information, our current assessment, based on analysis of aerial imagery, electronic surveillance and open information sources, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the Gaza hospital yesterday,” she said in a statement.
Previously, US representatives have told journalists traveling with Biden that they were still gathering information, according to the New York Times.
The president has stated that the reason why he wanted to be in Tel Aviv this Wednesday is because he wants “people in the world to know who the US stands with” after the Hamas attack on October 7, which killed hundreds of people on the Israeli side. Biden has stressed that he wanted to go “personally” and has stressed that “the terrorist group Hamas has massacred, as has been noted, some 1,300 people, and it is not hyperbolic to say massacred, massacred, including 31 Americans, they have dozens of people kidnapped, including minors.” He added that this Islamist group, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, does not represent the Palestinians.
Netanyahu, for his part, thanked Biden for his visit during the war with the militias in the Gaza Strip and said that this shows “his deep commitment to Israel, to the future of the Jewish people and to the Jewish State.” “I want to thank you for coming here today and for the unequivocal support you have given to Israel during these difficult times, support that reflects the overwhelming will of the American people,” the Israeli prime minister said during the joint statement with Biden, in which He has described the cooperation between both countries since the beginning of the war as “unprecedented.” The prime minister has also stressed that Washington has provided Israel “with the tools it needs to defend itself” and has “sent a clear message” to its enemies.
The White House has indicated that during his visit, Biden will ask “tough questions” to Israel about its strategy. “This is not about directing operations for the Israeli Defense Forces. (…) They are difficult questions that a good friend of Israel would ask about, more or less, where they think they are going, what their plans are for the future and, again, all in the spirit of a true and deep friend of Israel ”said White House Homeland Security spokesman John Kirby.
The tragedy at the Gaza hospital has sparked international condemnation and protests in several countries, including Lebanon and Jordan. The European Union has condemned the bombing of a hospital in Gaza. “The facts must be clarified and those responsible must be held accountable,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as soon as she began her speech in the European Parliament, where the debate on the conflict in the Middle East is the highlight. this Wednesday. The German avoided speaking this Tuesday night in a press conference after a video conference with the 27 under the premise that he had no information. “An attack against civilian infrastructure is not in line with international law,” warned the president of the European Council.
Intense Israeli bombing of Gaza, from air, sea and land, continues almost uninterrupted after the Hamas attack eleven days ago. Before the latest massacre, the death toll already rose to 3,000 in the strip, according to Gaza authorities, while hundreds more people are missing and believed to be trapped under the rubble. At least a million people have been forced to flee their homes in just one week.
While the idea of a ground offensive floats in the air, Israel has imposed a strict siege to prevent the entry of water, fuel or electricity into the strip, has ordered a million people to move to the south and has carried out attacks aerial attacks against densely populated neighborhoods and civil infrastructure.