WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the “only answer” to the conflict between Israel and Hamas is “a two-state solution that’s real” — and warned Israel that occupying Gaza would be a “big mistake.”
Biden told reporters during a news conference after his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco that he had put that position to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I made it clear to the Israelis and Bibi and to his war cabinet — that I think the only answer here is a two-state solution that’s real,” Biden said.
“We’ve got to get to the point where there is an ability to be able to even talk without worrying whether to not we are just dealing with Hamas … I can’t tell you how long it is going to last, but I can tell you that I don’t think it will end until there’s a two-state solution,” the President added.
Biden has long endorsed a two-state solution to the decades-long tensions between Israel and Palestinians. Biden, in his address in Tel Aviv back in October, said he supported a two-state solution in the pursuit of peace.
“Nations of conscience like the United States and Israel are not measured solely by the example of power. We are measured by the power of our example, and that’s why as hard as it is, we must keep pursuing peace. We must keep pursuing a path so that Israel and the Palestinian people can both live safely and securely in dignity and in peace,” he said.
“For me, that means a two-state solution,” he added. “We must keep working for Israel’s greater integration with its neighbors. These attacks have only strengthened my commitment and determination and my will to get that done.”
Biden said he is “mildly hopeful” there will be a deal to free the more than 200 people being held hostage in Gaza.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I don’t know what happened in the last four hours, but we have had great cooperation from the Qataris,” said Joe Biden, following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday.
Qatar has been leading ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
A hostage gave birth in captivity in the Gaza Strip, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
The Israeli army continued its assault on the al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza on Thursday.
After a days-long siege, Israeli troops and tanks raided the immense hospital complex early on Wednesday, sparking serious international concern for the thousands of critically ill patients, newborns and displaced civilians trapped inside.
The Israeli army accuses Hamas of using the hospital as a military base — something Hamas and hospital staff deny.
When asked by reporters about the Israeli raid, Biden said on Wednesday: “We discussed the need to be extremely careful.”
“The idea that they [Israel] are just going to stop and do nothing is not realistic. This is not carpet bombing. This is different. They are going into the tunnels, they are going to the hospital. They also bring incubators. They bring other means to help people in the hospital,” he said.
Israel confirmed to AFP on Thursday its troops were still deployed at the Shifa where, according to the UN, around 2,300 people are stuck.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers, some hooded, burst into this hospital early Wednesday, according to a journalist working with AFP on site.
“All men aged 16 and over, raise your hands in the air and exit the buildings towards the inner courtyard to surrender,” soldiers shouted in Arabic.
They also searched crying women and children, the journalist reported. In the hospital corridors, troops sometimes fired into the air as they went from room to room.
Dwindling supplies and no water or electricity have placed those inside the medical facility in a dire humanitarian situation, with the hospital left with no way to run incubators and other lifesaving equipment.
Gaza’s health ministry said 40 patients, including three babies, have died since Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of fuel Saturday.
After days without refrigeration, morgue staff dug a mass grave on Tuesday for 120 bodies in the yard.
Clashes broke out between dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators and police on Wednesday evening in front of the Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, forcing the closure of nearby US Congressional offices.
“Our officers are working to contain approximately 150 people who are demonstrating illegally and violently” near the party offices, Capitol Police said in a message on X.
“Officers are making arrests,” added the police, who reported six injuries in their ranks for “minor cuts” and “punches.”
Elected officials who were at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices at the time were escorted out of the building by police to safety.
Protesters are demanding a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip. — CNN