President Joe Biden landed in Israel this week for a planned trip to the war-torn region. Biden’s visit came just hours after a blast near a Gaza hospital led to a number of deaths and led to large protests across the Middle East.
The president issued several statements in support of the American ally during his visit.
“The world is looking. Israel has a value set like the United States does and other democracies and they’re looking to see what we’re going to do,” Biden said.
The initial reports from Gaza following the explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital blamed Israel for the explosion. However, Israel shared video of what appeared to be a failed rocket launch, instead.
The president held to Israel’s position that the explosion was caused by a rocket from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.
“I was outraged by the bombing of the hospital yesterday. Based on what I’ve seen, it was done by the other team. Not you,” Biden said as he talked to Netanyahu. “But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure.”
Netanyahu thanked Biden for the visit and for “the unequivocal support you’ve given during these trying times. A support that reflects the overwhelming will of the American people.”
The prime minister highlighted what he called a “clear line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism.”
BREAKING: 🇺🇸 Biden says he is 'outraged and deeply saddened' by what happened at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital and the 'terrible loss of life that resulted'
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) October 17, 2023
“And just imagine, Mr. President, the fear and the panic of those little children in their last moments as the monsters discovered find out their hiding places,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas kidnapped women, children, elderly, Holocaust survivors. I know you share outrage on this and I know you share our determination to bring these people back.”
Following a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Biden said that there was “no higher priority” than the release of an unknown number of people held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
The trip to Israel also came as several world leaders retracted their invitation to meet with the president. Jordanian King Abdullah declined a visit with Biden following the explosion at the hospital. So did Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.