Biden Condemns Ongoing Assault By Hamas On Israeli Citizens, Promises Support to Israel

The President states support for Israel amid attacks in a press conference on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 10th 2023, 5:38 pm



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President Joe Biden was quick to respond to Hamas’s brutal attack Saturday morning, convening his national security team and calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pledge full American support. Speaking to the nation Tuesday afternoon, Biden went further.

"Let there be no doubt," said President Biden, "the United States has Israel's back."

Biden said that means dispatching, not just an imposing deterrent, in the form of the Ford Carrier Group, but surging actual military equipment -- ammunition and components for its Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

"We will make sure the Jewish and Democratic state of Israel can defend itself, today, tomorrow, as we always have," Biden said, with Vice President Harris and Secretary of State Blinken on either side of him.

The President acknowledged that at least 14 Americans are among the hundreds killed so far, and that Americans are also among the many hostages taken by Hamas.

 The President made no request in his remarks that Israel show 'restraint' or that its response be 'measured', as has been the case with other, less serious attacks on Israel.

"Like every nation in the world," Biden said, "Israel has the right to respond -- indeed, has a duty to respond to these vicious attacks." 

There was also no direct mention of Iran, nor of the $6 billion in Iranian assets the administration just agreed to unfreeze as part of a deal last month to release five American detainees.

Republicans have been mentioning it, though.

"Iran is the largest backer of Hamas," said Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) in a post on social media, "therefore the $6 billion of taxpayer money that Biden gave Iran just one month ago is likely being used against Israel."

Administration officials say that's not true and that none of the funding has been touched yet by Iran. They also say there's no clear evidence yet that Iran was directly involved in planning the attack.

Still, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and numerous other GOP Senators sent a letter to Biden, urging him to re-freeze the money.

"To stand by and allow Iran access to these funds as Hamas infiltrates Israel and murders, rapes, and mutilates countless Israelis is unconscionable," the group wrote.

 Perhaps just as unconscionable, to some, is the possibility that the current lack of leadership in the GOP-controlled House could end up slowing the provision of U.S. aid to Israel.

 Biden said Congress needs to put politics aside, especially now.

"We're gonna ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners," said the President. "This is not about party or politics. This is about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America."

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On Oct. 7, 2023, the Islamic Resistance Movement, the terror group also known as Hamas, launched a surprise attack on Israel by means of land, air and sea. Hundreds of civilians have been killed as the Israel Defense Forces, or the IDF, attempt to dislodge Hamas combatants.

What is Hamas?

Hamas was founded in 1987, although its origins extend far beyond that. The group is distinct from the Palestine Liberation Organization, another wing of the legislative body that governs Palestine. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election, and has remained in power since.

Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States all consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, while some countries, such as New Zealand and Paraguay, view only the groups's military wing as such.

Where is Gaza?

Gaza, also known as the Gaza Strip, is a Palestinian enclave, meaning it is separated from the rest of the country, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sunni Muslims make up the majority of the population of Gaza, although there is a small Christian minority.

Despite being a part of Palestine, Israel has control over much of the Gaza Strip, controlling the areas airspace, seaports and six of the strip's seven land access routes. This control has often deemed Gaza as an "open-air prison."

Has Conflict Erupted In Gaza Before?

In June, 1967, Israeli forces captured the Gaza Strip from Egyptian Forces towards the end of the Six-Day War. The war saw the invasion from, and later expulsion of, the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Israeli territory.

On Dec. 27, 2008, following the breakdown of a temporary truce between Israel and Palestine, Israeli fighter jets bombed several locations in Gaza, marking the beginning of the Gaza War. The targets bombed ranged from police stations, schools, hospitals, UN warehouses, and mosques to various other structures. Israel claimed those buildings were being used to house weapons.

Israel said the bombings were a response to Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel, and on Jan. 3, 2009, a ground invasion of the territory by the IDF began.

Between 1,100 and 1,400 Palestinians, and 13 Israelis were killed before the Gaza War came to an end on Jan. 18, 2009.

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