Biden offers ‘rock solid’ support for Israel, warns others against joining attack

US president decries ‘appalling’ violence against Israelis, says Washington is in touch with regional leaders; White House official: US ready to offer Israel ‘all means of support’

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

US President Joe Biden speaks about the terror attack against Israel, October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/Used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the terror attack against Israel, October 7, 2023. (Screenshot/Used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

US President Joe Biden backed Israel’s right to self-defense, warned other parties in the region against joining the attack against the Jewish state, and said he was in contact with leaders around the Middle East, in a public address on Saturday.

“Today the people of Israel are under attack orchestrated by a terrorist organization, Hamas. In this moment of tragedy, I want to say to them and to the world and to terrorists everywhere, the United States stands with Israel,” Biden said in a video statement delivered from the White House.

“We will not ever fail to have their back, we’ll make sure that they’ll have the help their citizens need and they can continue to defend themselves,” Biden said while flanked by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The world has seen appalling images of thousands of rockets in a space of hours raining down on Israeli cities… Hamas terrorists crossing into Israel, killing not only Israeli soldiers but Israeli civilians in the streets, in their homes, innocent people murdered, wounded, entire families taken hostage by Hamas, just days after Israel marked the holiest of days on the Jewish calendar. It’s unconscionable,” Biden said. “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, full stop. There’s never justification for terrorist attacks and my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”

“This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching,” he said.

The president added that he had spoken to the king of Jordan and members of Congress, and told his national security team to engage with their Israeli counterparts for military, diplomatic and intelligence cooperation to “make sure Israel has what it needs.”

Biden has directed his team to be in constant contact with leaders around the region, including in Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, the UAE and Europe.

He said he will remain in close contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he spoke to earlier today.

“Let there be no mistake, the United States stands with the State of Israel,” Biden said.

Biden later reiterated that message in a series of tweets.

A senior Biden administration official said on a call with reporters that the US “will treat Hamas for what they are. They are an international terrorist organization.”

Washington’s focus is on “ensuring that the Israelis have what they need to respond appropriately,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House official said the US was ready “to offer all appropriate means of support to the people and government of Israel,” adding: “Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. Full stop.”

“We remain deeply aligned,” said the official, adding that Israel’s response was likely to continue “for some time.”

The official said that the US would continue to “work with parties throughout the region” to make sure the fighting doesn’t spread from Gaza.

The official also spoke about the potential of a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, saying that it was “premature to say the impact” that the war will have on those efforts.

“That process has a way to travel,” says the official, adding that “terrorist groups like Hamas will not derail any such outcome.”

Earlier Saturday, Biden said he had told Netanyahu on a phone call that, “We stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel.”

“Jill and I are keeping in our prayers all of the families who have been hurt by this violence,” he said, referring to his wife. “We are heartbroken by the lives that have been tragically cut short and hope for a swift recovery for all those who have been wounded.”

“My team and I are tracking this situation closely, and I will remain in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Biden said.

Netanyahu thanked Biden for his “unreserved support,” said that he had also spoken with world leaders from France, the UK and other countries, and had secured international backing for “freedom of action” for Israel.

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