U.S. President Joe Biden praised the Israeli people’s wartime posture upon his arrival to the Jewish state on Wednesday.
“To the people of Israel, your courage and commitment is stunning. I’m proud to be here,” the American president said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted Biden at the Ben-Gurion Airport tarmac along with President Isaac Herzog and other senior officials, before heading to the Kempinski Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to speak to the media.
“The level of cooperation is unprecedented in the history of the American-Israel alliance,” Netanyahu said.
“You have drawn a clear line between forces of civilization and barbarism, sheer evil,” Netanyahu told Biden.
The Israeli leader compared the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of more than 1,400 people in communities near the Gaza Strip as comparable in proportion to over 50,000 Americans murdered in a single day, saying it was like 20 9/11s.
“Oct. 7 is another day that will live in infamy,” Netanyahu said, praising Biden for visiting Israel during a war.
“For the people of Israel, there is only one thing better than having a true friend like you with Israel, and that is standing in Israel as the first U.S. sitting president to visit Israel in a time of war, it is deeply moving and speaks to the depth of support for Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for standing with Israel today, tomorrow and always.”
Biden said that it was important for him to visit Israel so that the “people of Israel and people of the world know where the U.S. stands. I wanted to personally come and make it clear.”
Hamas “makes ISIS look rational” and has “brought Palestinians only suffering,” he continued.
“Americans are grieving with you and Americans are worried. It is not an easy field to navigate,” Biden said.
The president briefly mentioned Tuesday night’s explosion outside of a hospital in Gaza that Hamas blamed on Israel but which the IDF said was caused by a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launch.
“I’m deeply saddened and outraged by the hospital blast, which appears to be done by the other team,” Biden said.
The U.S. president announced his wartime trip to Israel on Monday “to stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack.”
The president had planned to visit Jordan to discuss “dire humanitarian needs,” referring to the situation of two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, but the trip was canceled after Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas changed his mind and decided not to attend.
The president’s trip comes as the IDF prepares for a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip to defeat Hamas in the wake of the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel, which killed more than 1,400 people and wounded at least 4,100. Hamas also kidnapped and took back to the Gaza Strip at least 199 hostages.
Israel National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi defined Israel’s war goals in a Monday press briefing as the destruction of Hamas “as a governing body, as a military body, as a relevant body that threatens the lives of our citizens.”