Biden says hospital blast apparently caused by errant Hamas rocket

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the war between Israel and Hamas after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the war between Israel and Hamas after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas,” US President Joe Biden says, repeating a warning he has sounded before.

He says Hamas uses civilians as human shields.

“I was outraged and saddened by the enormous loss of life yesterday at the hospital in Gaza,” Biden says.

“Based on the information we’ve seen to date, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.”

The people of Gaza need food, medicine, and water, Biden insists.

Biden says he asked Israel’s war cabinet to allow aid to reach civilians. “Israel agreed that humanitarian assistance can begin to move from Egypt to Gaza.”

If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, he says, it will show Hamas has no regard for Gazans. “As a practical matter, it will stop the international community from being able to provide this aid.”

Biden announces $100 million in new assistance for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

“You are a Jewish state, and you are also a democracy,” says Biden, stressing that Israel doesn’t live by the law of terrorists.

“You can’t give up on what makes you who you are. If you give that up, you’ve let the terrorists win,” says Biden.

Biden says the attacks have made him even more determined in his efforts to push for a two-state solution and for expanding the Abraham Accords.

“We must keep working for Israel’s greater integration with its neighbors. These attacks only strengthen my commitment, determination and my will to get that done.”

He concludes: “Israel will be safe, secure, a Jewish and democratic state, today, tomorrow, forever. May God protect all those who work for peace. God save those who are still in harm’s way.”

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