Biden calls for Hamas elimination, urges restraint in Israel's invasion

October 16, 2023

President Biden called for Hamas to be completely destroyed in an interview on the emerging conflict in Israel.

Doubling down on his support of Israel, Biden told 60 Minutes that the Jewish state has a right to react to the worst attack on Jews in decades - but he also showed concern for the welfare of civilians in Palestine as Israel prepares a massive ground invasion.

Biden's message to Hamas

On one hand, Biden said it would be a "big mistake" for Israel to re-occupy Gaza, but he agreed that Hamas must be taken out completely.

"Yes, I do. But there needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state."

Biden's initial response to the brutal Hamas attacks focused on condemning the terror group. But as Israel encircles Gaza, Biden has sought to balance criticism of Hamas with concern for the safety and national aspirations of Palestinians.

He refrained from calling for a cease-fire, but he said he believes Israel will limit harm to civilians as Israel cuts off supplies to the Gaza Strip, home to over 2 million.

"I’m confident Israel is going to act under the rules of war,” he said. “There is a standard that democratic institutions and countries go by. I’m confident there is going to be the ability for innocents in Gaza to have access to medicine, food and water.”

Biden addresses escalation fears

Israel has not formally occupied Gaza since 2005, but the notion that Israel continues to control the lives of Palestinians plays a central role in the ideology of Palestinian nationalism.

Although Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, Biden distinguished between the terror group and Palestinians who are being used as human shields.

"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," Biden said. "Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They're hiding behind the civilians."

Meanwhile, Biden has urged other forces, like Iran-backed Hezbollah, not to escalate the conflict any further.

"Don't, don't, don't."

As for the question of U.S. involvement, Biden says it is not "necessary," but speculation lingers after Biden sent two aircraft carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean

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