U.S. President Joe Biden visited Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Biden condemned the surprise attack by the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas, and stated that the U.S. would “make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens,” emphasizing U.S. solidarity with its ally, Israel.
Whatever the reason, Hamas’ military movements and acts of terrorism are inexcusable and deserve the highest degree of criticism. Many civilians and Israeli soldiers were taken hostage in clear violation of international humanitarian law.
Israel has a justifiable right to self-defense, and no one has a right to stop it. It can be said that Biden’s declaration of solidarity and support is appropriate.
However, in Biden’s speech after his conference with Netanyahu, he urged the audience to “renounce violence and vitriol” while imploring the Israeli military to refrain from excessive use of force.
During this visit, Biden had also planned to meet with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
But just before the visit, a large number of civilians lost their lives in an attack on a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, and the meetings were canceled.
Hamas and a number of Arab countries claimed that Israel was responsible for the attack, but the Israeli military countered that the attack was an accidental misfire by a radical faction other than Hamas.
On Oct. 18, on the basis of intelligence from the U.S. Department of Defense, Biden asserted that the attack on the hospital had been perpetrated by “the other team,” a radical terrorist group, rather than Israel.
No matter who is responsible for the incident, attacks on hospitals violate international humanitarian law and are absolutely unforgiveable.
Although the meeting with the Palestinians and their Arab counterparts fell through, Biden made a firm promise to Netanyahu of humanitarian aid to Gaza. He made the same commitment to al-Sisi in a telephone conversation.
Food, water and medical supplies will be brought into Gaza from Egypt, and we hope that effort will be successful. It is essential that the supplies don’t fall into Hamas’ hands.
The work to rescue Hamas’ hostages is also being rushed. The U.N. and other countries must work together to urge Hamas for their prompt release.
Biden stressed the importance of the peace process toward a “two-state solution” of coexistence between Israel and Palestine. The road toward quelling wartime fire and mitigating antagonism will be exceedingly difficult, but we hope that earnest efforts continue.