Last Updated: October 16, 2023, 08:23 IST
Washington D.C., United States of America (USA)
As the Israel-Hamas war continues to escalate, US President Joe Biden has said any move by Israel to occupy the Gaza Strip again would be a “big mistake.” Biden made the remarks in an interview released on Sunday, as Israeli troops prepared for a ground invasion.
The October 7 Hamas attack caused the death of more than 1,400 people in Israel. Its reprisal attacks in the days since have killed at least 2,670 people in Gaza. Israel has declared war on the Palestinian outfit and warned more than a million people in northern Gaza to move south ahead of the operation.
When asked if he would support any occupation of Gaza by the American ally, Biden replied: “I think it’d be a big mistake.” Hamas “don’t represent all the Palestinian people,” he said during the CBS news program 60 Minutes. But invading and “taking out the extremists” is a “necessary requirement,” he added.
President Biden supports a humanitarian corridor that allows people out of Gaza – where Israel has cut off food, fuel, electricity, and much of the water. He also says the Israeli occupation of Gaza would be “a big mistake.” https://t.co/gYadyBKneX pic.twitter.com/7Tn0Oyo8Lo— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 15, 2023
Asked if Hamas must be eliminated entirely, he replied: “Yes I do.” “But there needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state,” he continued, reiterating the long-standing US call for a two-state solution.
Biden was also questioned if he could foresee US troops joining the war. To this, he replied, “I don’t think that’s necessary.” “Israel has one of the finest fighting forces in the country. I guarantee we’re gonna provide them everything they need,” he said.
Biden’s show of support comes as the US has already deployed two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean in a powerful show of support for Israel. On Sunday, the US State Department said the number of Americans killed since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas has risen to 30.
“At this time, we can confirm the deaths of 30 U.S. citizens. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the State Department said in a statement. The US is also aware of 13 missing citizens and has been in contact with their families. Hamas is believed to have kidnapped at least 155 people and is holding them hostage in Gaza. Their whereabouts are not publicly known, but their families have been urgently pressing for their release.
“The U.S. government is working around the clock to determine their whereabouts and is working with the Israeli government on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to advise the Israeli government on hostage recovery efforts,” the statement said.
(With agency inputs)