TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Israel has agreed to begin the flow of humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza, subject to inspections and that it must go to civilians and not to Hamas militants.
In remarks from Tel Aviv, where the president went to show support for Israel following the brutal and deadly Oct. 7 attack that killed nearly 1,400 people, Biden warned the nation against all-consuming rage.
Israel cut off food, fuel and water supplies to Gaza following the attack. Middlemen are struggling to break the deadlock in delivering supplies to desperate citizens, aid groups and hospitals.
Biden said he had spoken with the Israeli cabinet “to agree to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.”
“Let me be clear,” Biden said. If Hamas diverts or steals aid, they will once again demonstrate that they have no interest in the welfare of the Palestinian people.
Biden also announced an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and the West Bank.
This is a breaking news update. AP’s previous story is below.
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Pres Joe Biden During his visit on Wednesday, he promised to show the world that America stands in solidarity with Israel, and offered an assessment. A deadly explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip What sparked mass protests in the Arab world was not openly conducted by the Israeli military.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it looks like it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting. But he said there were “a lot of people out there” who weren’t sure what caused the bombings, which sparked protests across the Middle East.
Biden later said his decision was based on “data I was shown by my Department of Defense.”
The visit to Israel coincides with growing humanitarian concerns in Gaza, where Israel has cut off the flow of food, fuel and water. Middlemen are struggling to break the deadlock in delivering supplies to desperate citizens, aid groups and hospitals.
Israel said on its radar and independent video on Wednesday that the rocket was misfired in a barrage fired by Palestinian militants, causing a large explosion when the blast hit the hospital. It said there was no crater that could have accompanied the airstrike, and it released a recording saying the blast was between two Hamas fighters believed to be Islamic Jihad’s mistaken firing.
Islamic Jihad rejected Israel’s claims, pointing to Israel’s order to evacuate the hospital in recent days and reports of an earlier strike at the hospital that wounded four as evidence that it was an Israeli target.
Biden had been scheduled to travel to Jordan on Wednesday to meet with Arab leaders, but the summit was called off after the hospital outbreak. His remarks in Tel Aviv addressed both the horrors experienced by Israelis and the growing humanitarian crisis for Palestinian citizens in Gaza.
He told Netanyahu he was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the hospital explosion. But he also stressed that “Hamas does not represent all the Palestinian people, and it has only caused them suffering.” And he spoke of the need to find ways to “promote life-saving capacity to help the innocent Palestinians caught in the middle.”
Biden’s overarching message was that the United States was firmly behind Israel following the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,400 people.
“I want you to know that you are not alone. We will continue to have Israel’s back as you work to protect your people,” Biden said. “We will continue to work with you and partners in the region to prevent further tragedies for innocent civilians.”
Netanyahu reiterated that Israel was not responsible for the hospital attack. “The whole world is rightfully outraged, but this outrage should be directed not at Israel, but at the terrorists,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with Biden and Israel’s war cabinet.
He called the president’s visit “deeply, deeply moving,” adding, “I know I speak for all the people of Israel when I say thank you, Mr. President, for always standing with Israel today and tomorrow.”
Netanyahu said Biden had correctly drawn a clear line between “the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism,” saying Israel was united in its determination to defeat Hamas.
“The civilized world must unite to defeat Hamas,” he said. American officials It was also announced on Wednesday Sanctions against 10 Hamas affiliates and the Palestinian militant organization’s financial network across Gaza, Sudan, Turkey, Algeria and Qatar.
Biden also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Israeli first responders and families of victims and those held hostage by Hamas. He took their hands, embraced them, and listened quietly as their voices cracked as they spoke of the horrors they had witnessed.
Eli Beer, founder of the Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, told Biden “you lifted up all the Jewish people in this country and in the world” with his visit.
The tense tone of Wednesday’s meetings between Biden and Netanyahu was a stark contrast to their optimistic meeting a month ago. UN In New York, Netanyahu marveled that “a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia” was within reach.
The possibility of improved relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors faded significantly with the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas’ attacks.
About 2,800 Palestinians have been reported killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza. There are 1,200 more It is believed to be buried under the rubble, were either alive or dead, health officials said. Those numbers are pre-explosion Al-Ahli Hospital On Tuesday.
The protest spread across the region After the bombing at the hospital, they treated wounded Palestinians and sheltered many who had fled the fighting.
Hundreds of Palestinians flooded the streets of major West Bank cities, including Ramallah. More people joined protests that broke out in Beirut, Lebanon, and Amman, Jordan, where angry crowds gathered outside the Israeli embassy.
The outrage overshadowed Biden’s plans to visit Jordan, where King Abdullah II was due to hold meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But Abbas withdrew in protest and the summit was later canceled altogether.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told a state-run television network that the war was “pushing the region to the brink.”
Jordan declared three days of mourning after the hospital blast and Safadi said the summit was canceled after speaking with all leaders. He said they wanted the meeting to end the war, which is now impossible, and give the Palestinians the respect they deserve.
Biden understood Kirby was part of a “mutual” decision to stop on the Jordan leg of his trip. He said he would speak by phone with Abbas and El-Sissi on Wednesday when he returns to Washington.
Palestine UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour used Biden on Tuesday to urge Israel to say “enough is enough.”
“You must stop this massacre against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Let it stop. Let the humanitarian aid happen,” he said. “Don’t displace two million Palestinians and push them in the direction of Jordan.”
There are also fears that a new front could erupt along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah operates. The organization has been supporting Iran Conflict with Israeli forces.
Always a believer in the power of personal diplomacy, Biden’s trip tests the limits of American influence in the Middle East at a volatile time. It was his second trip to the conflict zone this year, after he traveled to Ukraine in February to show solidarity with Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian invasion.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who bounced back and forth between Arab and Israeli leadership before Biden’s visit, gave the green light to create some sort of aid deal and develop a plan on how to enter Gaza and provide aid to civilians.
Although only a modest achievement on the surface, Blinken’s talks led to a significant shift in Israel’s position – US officials insisted that Gaza be cut off from fuel, electricity, water and other essential supplies.
U.S. officials said it had become clear that if conditions in Gaza worsened, the already limited Arab tolerance of Israel’s military operations would completely evaporate.
Their analysis predicts that direct condemnation of Israel by Arab leaders would not only be a boon for Hamas, but would also encourage Iran to step up action against Israel. The Associated Press spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal management thinking.
Long report from Washington. AP diplomatic writer Matthew Lee in Tel Aviv, Israel; Associated Press writers Omar Agor in Amman, Jordan; Samuel McNeill in Jerusalem; Chris Megarion, Will Weissert and Darlene Superville in Washington; and Edith M. in New York. Lederer contributed to this report.