U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a little more than two minutes worth of remarks about the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Saturday afternoon in a nationally televised address and did not take questions from the press.
“Today, the people of Israel are under attack,” he began. “Orchestrated by a terrorist organization, Hamas. In this moment of tragedy, I want to say to them and to the world, and to terrorists everywhere: The United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have her back.”
“We will make sure that they have the help that their citizens need and they can continue to defend themselves,” he said. “The world has seen appalling images. Thousands of rockets, in the space of hours, raining down on Israeli cities.”
“I got up this morning and started this at 7:30, 8:00, my calls,” the president added. “Hamas terrorists crossing into Israel. Killing not only Israeli soldiers but Israeli civilians. In the street. In their homes. Innocent people murdered, wounded. Entire families taken hostage by Hamas.”
He noted that all occurred “just days” after Israel the High Holidays. “It’s unconscionable,” he said. “You know, when I spoke to Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu this morning, I told him the United States stand with the people of Israel in the face of these terrorist assaults.”
“Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Full stop. There’s never a justification for terrorist attacks,” Biden added. “My administration’s support for Israeli security is rock solid and unwavering.”
“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” the president added, pointing at the cameras. “This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching.”
Biden said he has also been in contact with King Abdullah II of Jordan and with members of the U.S. Congress.
He said that he has directed his team to be in touch with Israeli counterparts and to be in “constant contact” with leaders in the region, including Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, European partners and the Palestinian Authority.
“This is also a tragedy on a human level,” the president said. “It’s hurting innocent people. Seeing the lives that have been broken by this, the families torn apart; it’s heart-breaking.” He added that he and his wife, Jill Biden, are praying for those impacted and their families, and for the swift recovery of those injured. He also said that he would personally be in “close contact” with Netanyahu.
The president also released a statement earlier in the day about the “horrific and ongoing attacks in Israel,” which the United States “unequivocally condemns.”
He added: “Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
Earlier in the day, the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, which is part of the U.S. State Department, posted (and then deleted) a statement calling for “all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”