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Biden calls to secure Israel, not give up on Palestinian statehood

“As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution,” said the U.S. president.

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation regarding the wars in Ukraine and in Israel from the Oval Office on Oct. 19, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation regarding the wars in Ukraine and in Israel from the Oval Office on Oct. 19, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.

Below are excerpts from U.S. President Joe Biden’s national address to the American public on Thursday night.

“Good evening, my fellow Americans. We’re facing an inflection point in history—one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come. That’s what I’d like to talk with you about tonight.

“You know, earlier this morning, I returned from Israel. They tell me I’m the first American president to travel there during a war.

“I met with the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] and members of his cabinet. And most movingly, I met with Israelis who had personally lived through the horrific horror of the attack by Hamas on the seventh of October.

“More than 1,300 people slaughtered in Israel, including at least 32 American citizens. Scores of innocents—from infants to elderly grandparents, Israelis, Americans—taken hostage.

“As I told the families of Americans being held captive by Hamas, we’re pursuing every avenue to bring their loved ones home. As president, there is no higher priority for me than the safety of Americans held hostage.

“The terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure, unadulterated evil in the world. But sadly, the Jewish people know, perhaps better than anyone, that there is no limit to the depravity of people when they want to inflict pain on others.

“In Israel, I saw a people who are strong, determined, resilient and also angry, in shock, and in deep, deep pain.

From left: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi gather in Tel Aviv to discuss the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Oct. 18, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

“I also spoke with President [Mahmoud] Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self-determination. The actions of Hamas terrorists don’t take that right away.

“Like so many others, I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life, including the explosion at a hospital in Gaza—which was not done by the Israelis.

“We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity …

“Hamas—its stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people
 
“Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of them …

“In Israel, we must make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always.

“The security package I’m sending to Congress and asking Congress to do is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed to—the qualitative military edge.

“We’re going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.

The American and Israeli flags are screened on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City to thank U.S. President Joe Biden for his support of Israel, on Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

“Look, at the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I discussed again yesterday the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can. The people of Gaza urgently need food, water, and medicine.

“Yesterday, in discussions with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“If Hamas does not divert or steal this shipment—these shipments, we’re going to provide an opening for sustained delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians.

“And as I said in Israel: As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution.

“Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity and peace.”

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