In a press conference from the White House on Saturday, President Joe Biden condemned what he described as an “unconscionable” assault by Hamas militants. The surprise attack, which garnered worldwide condemnation and drew anger from Israel’s allies, has plunged the region into turmoil..
Biden, speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made it clear that the United States stands firmly with Israel in the face of these terrorist assaults. He emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself, stating, “There’s never a justification for terrorist attacks, and my administration’s support for Israeli’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
The President also issued a stern warning to those hostile to Israel, stating, “This is not a moment for any party to exploit these attacks for their advantage. The world is watching.”
President Biden has been in close communication with Netanyahu and reached out to Jordan’s King Abdullah II and members of Congress to discuss the situation.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was present at the White House meetings, spoke with Israel’s president and foreign minister. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also engaged with Israel’s defense minister, pledging U.S. commitment to helping Israel protect its civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.
Hamas’ unprecedented incursion, which occurred shortly after Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, marked the deadliest attack in Israel in years. Israel responded with airstrikes in Gaza, leading Netanyahu to declare, “We are at war.”
President Biden expressed his sympathy for the Israeli people, who he described as “under attack orchestrated by a terrorist organization.” He stated, “The United States stands with Israel. We will make sure they have the help their citizens need to defend themselves.”
The hostilities have dealt a significant blow to U.S. efforts to expand the Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords normalization agreements, particularly with Saudi Arabia. Plans for Secretary Blinken’s trip to the Middle East have been put on hold due to the ongoing conflict.
In the short term, U.S. officials aim to work with regional partners like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to deescalate the situation, though they acknowledge the challenges given the scale of the attacks and Israel’s military response.
Leaders from around the world voiced support for Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Hamas’ actions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is of Jewish heritage, emphasized that “Israel’s right to self-defense cannot be questioned.” European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen denounced the attack as terrorism, and leaders like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed solidarity with Israel.
While some nations, like Austria, raised the Israeli flag in a gesture of support, Iran’s parliament began their session with chants of “Death to Israel.” In Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps, celebrations erupted in response to the Hamas operation.
The situation remains highly volatile, with global leaders calling for an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations between Hamas and Israel.