U.S. President Joe Biden spoke for about 10 minutes on Friday from Nantucket, Mass., about the release of hostages from the Gaza Strip.
“It’s only a start, but so far, it’s gone well,” he said, hours after 13 hostages were released from nearly 50 days of captivity in Gaza by the Hamas terrorist organization. “This is the beginning of a long journey of healing for them.”
Speaking after 2:15 p.m. local time, Biden added that Washington won’t stop until all the hostages are released. Teddy bears waiting for some of the youngest hostages “are a stark reminder of the trauma these children have been through at such a very young age,” he said.
Biden said that he and his staff worked hard to help negotiate the hostage deal, and he thanked Egyptian and Qatari leaders, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I’ve consistently pressed for a pause in the fighting for two reasons: to accelerate and expand the humanitarian assistance going into Gaza, and two, to facilitate the release of hostages,” Biden said.
“Hamas doesn’t give a damn about them,” he said of “innocent Palestinians” who need humanitarian aid.
Biden called for “two states for two peoples.” He added that “Hamas fears Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.”
“Today, let’s continue to be thankful for all the families that are now and will be soon be brought together again,” he added.
In response to a question from a reporter, Biden said: “I don’t trust Hamas to do anything. I only trust Hamas to respond to pressure.”
He said of Netanyahu: “I’ve encouraged the prime minister to focus on trying to reduce the number of casualties while he is attempting to eliminate Hamas, which is a legitimate objective he has.”
The president mentioned that he couldn’t prove it, but he thinks that Hamas attacked Israel when it did because the United States was working closely with Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel.
Last month, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told JNS that Hamas’s attack was an effort to stymie Saudi-Israeli normalization. “Iran and Hamas knew their vicious attack would help prevent that from happening. President Biden must give up on his failed strategy of appeasement and start holding the Iranian regime accountable for its crimes,” he said.