Seated alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Joe Biden backed Israel’s denial of responsibility for a deadly hospital explosion in Gaza City.
Hamas has blamed Israel, while Israel has vehemently denied any involvement and says a rocket misfire from the group Islamic Jihad is to blame. Exactly what did happen has not been independently verified. Officials in the Hamas-run territory say the massive blast killed hundreds of people, but no death toll has been verified.
“I’m deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Mr. Biden said to Netanyahu and reporters in Tel Aviv. “But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure. So — we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”
Mr. Biden is in Israel for just a few hours Wednesday, in an effort to show U.S. solidarity with Israel, and navigate a complicated situation with one of the United States’ strongest allies. He was scheduled to visit Jordan next to visit with Arab leaders, butafter Jordan’s foreign minister said the summit was canceled.
“I wanted to be here today for a simple reason, I wanted the people of Israel, the people of the world to know where the United States stands,” the president said.
Americans are still missing in the conflict, some of them believed to be held by Hamas.
Seated alongside Netanyahu, Mr. Biden assured him that the U.S. will provide for Israel’s defense. He also sought to distinguish Hamas from many of the Palestinian people. The president said Hamas is committing atrocities “that make ISIS look somewhat more rational.”
“And we have to also bear in mind that Hamas does not represent all the Palestinian people and has brought them only suffering,” the president said.
Mr. Biden praised the heroism of the Israeli people as “stunning.”
“I’m proud to be here,” he said.
The president is expected to make remarks at the conclusion of his meetings with Netanyahu.
— Willie Inman contributed to this report