Everything President Biden Has Said About the Israel-Hamas War 

14 minute read

President Joe Biden continues to offer unwavering support for Israel amid the Israel-Hamas War, which has left thousands of civilians dead in Israel and Gaza since it began on Oct. 7.

As airstrikes continue daily in Gaza and many Palestinians remain without basic necessities due to the blockade, Biden has come under scrutiny for his support of Israel as Americans remain divided. 

Some lawmakers and global leaders have criticized Biden, with one State Department official even resigning over the decision to continue sending arms to Israel. Young American liberals, many of whom voted for the President, are especially vocal in support of Palestinians and demanding the president end his support of Israel’s airstrikes.

And in a rare Oval Office address on Oct. 20, the President recognized that the world was 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.” 

Here’s what President Biden has said on the Israel-Hamas war so far:

Biden denounces Hamas attack

On Oct. 10, Biden publicly denounced Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack, which left 1,200 people dead in Israel. Biden called the attack “sheer evil" and “sickening.”

“We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack,” Biden said on Oct. 10 about “America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East.” 

Biden says he is sending ammunition and aid to Israel 

Also on Oct.10, Biden committed to sending additional ammunition to help support Israeli Defense Forces. U.S. navy ships and planes have been sent to support the country, with one warship blowing up cruise missiles and multiple drones in defense of Israel on Oct.19. U.S. security officials are also consulting with Israeli forces on their intelligence operations to help recover the approximately 200 people who were taken hostage by Hamas at gunpoint during the attack on Israel.In addition to the aid to Israel that has already been rolled out, President Biden asked Congress on Oct. 20 for an emergency fund package that would send at least $14 billion in military assistance to Israel.

During his visit to Israel, Biden says he will make sure the country has what they need

On Oct 18. 11 days after Israel’s official declaration of war on Hamas, President Biden made a wartime trip. The reasoning behind his visit was simple, Biden said.

“I wanted the people of Israel, the people of the world to know where the United States stands,” the president remarked on Wednesday, reiterating that the U.S. would continue to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself. It was the first time a U.S. president made a trip to Israel during a war.

Biden also compared the Hamas attack to 9/11, and warned Israel to not be consumed by rage.

“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.” 

Biden comments on Gaza hospital blast

There have been conflicting reports about who was responsible for the rocket blast at Al-Ahli Hospital on Oct. 17 that left hundreds of people dead, according to a UN report. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike for the disaster, while the Israeli military said the rocket was fired by the militant group Islamic Jihad in a misfire. A spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad denied those allegations. TIME cannot independently confirm the group responsible for the attack. 

During Biden’s trip, he said that evidence provided to American officials showed that Israel wasn’t behind the attack.

“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting on Wednesday. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure. So we’ve got a lot, we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”

Biden announces aid to Gaza

After Biden’s visit, Israeli officials agreed on Oct. 18 to allow humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza. Humanitarian aid will now be allowed to move from Egypt to Gaza through the border crossing at Rafah, so long as Hamas does not receive any assistance. 

That same day, President Biden announced that the United States would be providing $100 million in aid for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians have been left without access to water, food, and electricity, amid a blockade by the Israeli government.  More than a million people have been displaced after the Israeli military instructed civilians to evacuate northern Gaza and head south.  

The assistance is going to help bring food, clean water, medical care, and more to the region. Humanitarian aid will be given through international NGOs and the United Nations. 

“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism,” Biden said in a press release

But on Oct. 18, the U.S. also became the only country to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have called for a ceasefire to bring aid. Because the U.S. is one of five permanent members on the council, their vote put that measure on pause.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the veto was because the “resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defense.”

On Oct. 21, Biden applauded the passage of the first 20 aid trucks into Gaza, saying in a press release that the U.S. “remains committed” to ensuring civilians have food, water, medical care and other assistance “without diversion by Hamas.”

The United Nations has said that the first deployment of supplies barely scratches the surface of need in a territory that saw 100 aid trucks a day before Israel’s current siege. Other aid organizations pointed out that fuel is a critical missing piece to keep hospital generators running and patients alive, and for power plants to clean drinking water.

Israel announced on Nov. 17 that it would begin allowing fuel into the territory every two days.

Biden said in the same press release that he would continue to work “around the clock” on allowing U.S. citizens and their immediate family members in Gaza to leave safely and travel via Egypt to their final destinations.

Biden gives a primetime speech

On Oct. 19, President Biden made a public oval office address, during which he spoke to viewers about the need for American involvement in global wars.  

The President said that support of Israel and Ukraine was integral to America’s national security. “History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” Biden said. “They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising.”  

The President once again spoke of his commitment to supporting Israel’s military while mentioning that he urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to protect civilians in Gaza during the ongoing war. 

“As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution,” Biden said. “Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity, and peace.”

Biden speaks to freed American hostages 

On Oct. 20, Hamas released two American hostages, kidnapped from Israel on Oct. 7 and held in Gaza. The release involved negotiations between Hamas and Qatar’s government. Biden took credit for it on X and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to rescuing Americans remaining in Gaza. 

“From the earliest moments of this attack, we have been working around-the-clock to free American citizens who were taken hostage by Hamas,” Biden wrote. “We will not stop until we secure the release of those who are still being held.” 

On Oct. 21, Biden also posted a video on X of him speaking on the phone with the freed Americans – mother Judith Tai Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie, 17—who thanked him for his services. 

“We’re going to get them all out, God willing,” Biden told them about the other hostages. 

Biden gives his take on timing of Hamas attack 

On Oct. 20, Biden said he thought Hamas moved to attack Israel because the president was about to sit down with Saudi Arabia, who wanted to recognize Israel, and that would “unite the Middle East,” he told a campaign reception at a private Washington D.C. residence, according to a White House transcript. Biden said in the same speech that it’s so important for Israel to be sustained because he was convinced that “if there were no Israel, there’s not a Jew safe in the world — not in the entire world.” 

Biden talks with Netanyahu about respecting laws of war  

On Oct. 22, Biden affirmed Israel’s right for self-defense, but added it must be within the bounds of international law, in a post on X

“Israel has the right to defend itself. We must make sure they have what they need to protect their people today and always,” Biden posted. “At the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I have discussed how Israel must operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace.”

Biden says “there’s no going back to the status quo” 

Biden said at a press conference on Oct. 25 alongside Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese that “there’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on Oct. 6.” 

“That means ensuring that Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinians civilians as human shields,” Biden said. “It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution.”

Biden calls for humanitarian “pause” in Gaza 

Biden said he thought there should be a humanitarian “pause” in the war in response to a heckler calling for a ceasefire who interrupted a Minneapolis campaign speech on Nov. 1. 

“I think we need a pause,” Biden said. 

Biden says “Israel makes its own decisions”

On Nov. 9, the White House announced Israel had agreed to four-hour daily humanitarian pauses. Biden posted on X (formerly Twitter) that there would be safe passages to allow people to flee hostile areas in Gaza and said the U.S. was working to increase humanitarian aid and protect civilians. 

In a carefully worded statement, Biden distanced the U.S. from being held accountable for Israel’s actions, while reminding Israel of its ethical responsibilities. 

“Let me be clear: Israel makes its own decisions,” Biden wrote. “They are fighting an enemy embedded in the civilian population, which places innocent Palestinian people at risk. They have an obligation to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and fully comply with international law.”  

Biden urges Israel to protect Al-Shifa hospital, defends raid

Biden and his senior officials have said U.S. intelligence backs up Israel’s claim that Hamas is harboring a military command center underneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, which Hamas denies. Israel said this justified its siege of the hospital in mid-November, which international human rights and health organizations have criticized. 

Biden told reporters in the Oval Office on Nov. 13 he was concerned about protecting civilians. 

"It's my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital," he said. “The hospital must be protected."

Israel’s forces entered the compound on Nov. 15, searching all men on site and publishing a video showing weapons it says were found inside the complex. The reports have yet to be independently verified by the news media. 

Biden said in a press briefing in San Francisco on Nov. 15 that Hamas had committed a war crime by harboring headquarters there, but said Israel’s military acknowledges “they have an obligation to use as much caution as they can in going after their targets.” 

“It’s not like they’re rushing into the hospital, knocking down doors and pulling people aside and shooting people indiscriminately,” Biden said. 

Biden “mildly hopeful” about hostage deal 

Also on Nov. 15, Biden said he was “mildly hopeful” about a hostage deal, starting to reference the “pause that the Israelis have agreed to,” before cutting himself off, explaining he was going into too much detail. 

Biden says it would be “big mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza

Biden declined to give any deadline or timeline in response to a question of how long the U.S. is willing to support Israel in its Gaza operations, but said on Nov. 15 that “it’s going to stop when Hamas no longer maintains capacity to murder and abuse and do horrific things to the Israelis.” 

But Biden also said the endpoint of the Israel-Hamas war has to be a “real” Palestinian state that exists alongside an Israeli one. 

“I can tell you I don’t think it all ends until there’s a two-state solution,” Biden said. ‘I’ve made it clear to the Israelis that I think it’s a big mistake for them to think that they’re going to occupy Gaza and maintain Gaza. I don’t think that works.” 

Biden said he was negotiating with Arab countries about next steps, but declined to go into further detail.

Biden says “ceasefire is not peace” because of “murderous nihilism of Hamas”

In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Nov. 18, Biden said he stands with the Israeli people “as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism” of Hamas, which killed 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in Israel and took more than 200 hostages. 

Biden accused Hamas of hiding among civilians and using children as human shields. He warned that Hamas has promised to try to repeat Oct. 7.  

“As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace,” Biden wrote. “To Hamas’ members, every ceasefire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again.”

Biden says he is “heartbroken” over Gaza civilian deaths

Biden wrote in his op-ed that he is heartbroken over the images coming out of Gaza and reports of thousands of civilian deaths, including children. He wrote that Palestinian doctors and nurses are desperately trying to save lives, with little to no resources. “Every innocent Palestinian life lost is a tragedy that rips apart families and communities,” he said.

Biden condemns violence against Palestinians in the West Bank

Palestinian officials and human rights organizations have documented a rise in violence in the West Bank against Palestinians since the war began. Biden wrote that he’s been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that “extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable.” The President said the U.S. is prepared to take action by issuing visa bans to extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.

Biden says Palestinian Authority should govern Gaza and West Bank

Biden emphasized in his op-ed that there should be no forcible displacement of Palestinians in Gaza and no reoccupation, siege, blockade or reduction in the territory. When the war is over, Palestinian people must be at the center of governing Gaza, he said. 

Biden called for the Gaza and the West Bank to be united under a single governance structure, led by a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority, which currently rules only the West Bank. 

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