In the aftermath of the horrific Hamas attack on Israelis where Hamas terrorists murdered more than a thousand Israelis and more than two dozen Americans, and others in southern Israel, in half a dozen speeches, President Biden unequivocally categorizes Hamas’s brutality as ‘pure unadulterated evil.’ He reiterates that the US will “stand with Israel.” He punctuates his support of Israel by sending two aircraft carrier groups to the Middle East, and his administration provides Israel with needed military supplies.
OCTOBER 07, 2023
Remarks by President Biden on the Terrorist Attacks In Israel
State Dining Room
2:48 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, the people of Israel are under attack, orchestrated by a terrorist organization, Hamas.
In this moment of tragedy, I want to say to them and to the world and to terrorists everywhere that the United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have their back.
We’ll make sure they have the help their citizens need and they can continue to defend themselves.
You know, the world has seen appalling images: thousands of rockets in the space of hours raining down on Israeli cities. When I got up this morning and started this at 7:30, 8 o’clock — my calls.
Hamas terrorists crossing into Israel killing not only Israeli soldiers, but Israeli civilians in the street, in their homes. Innocent people murdered, wounded, entire families taken hostage by Hamas just days after Israel marked the holiest of days on the Jewish calendar. It’s unconscionable.
You know, when I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning, I told him the United States stands with the people of Israel in the face of this terrorist assaults. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Full stop.
There is never justification for terrorist acts.
And my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.
Let me say this as clearly as I can: This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching.
I have also been in contact with the King of Jordan, spoken with members of Congress, directed my national security team
to engage with their Israeli counterparts — military to military, intelligence to intelligence, diplo- — diplomat to diplomat — to make sure Israel has what it needs.
I’ve also directed my team to remain in constant contact with leaders throughout the region, including Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, the UAE, as well as with our European partners and the Palestinian Authority.
This is also a terrible tragedy on a human level. It’s hurting innocent people — seeing the lives that have been broken by this, the families torn apart. It’s heart breaking.
And Jill and I are praying for those families who have been impacted by this violence. We grieve with those who have lost their loved their ones, lost a piece of their soul. We have hope for a swift recovery for many who have been wounded.
But we’re going to remain in close touch with Prime Minister — I, personally, am going to remain in close contact with Prime Minister Netanyahu as this situation continues to develop.
And let there be no mistake: The United States stands with the State of Israel, just as we have from the moment the United States became the first nation to recognize Israel, 11 minutes after its founding, 75 years ago.
Thank you very much. 2:51 P.M. EDT
OCTOBER 10, 2023
Remarks by President Biden on the Terrorist Attacks in Israel
State Dining Room
2:24 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon.
You know, there are moments in this life — and I mean this literally — when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world.
The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend. The bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas — a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews.
This was an act of sheer evil.
More than 1,000 civilians slaughtered — not just killed, slaughtered — in Israel. Among them, at least 14 American citizens killed.
Parents butchered using their bodies to try to protect their children.
Stomach-turning reports of being — babies being killed.
Entire families slain.
Young people massacred while attending a musical festival to celebrate peace — to celebrate peace.
Women raped, assaulted, paraded as trophies.
Families hid their fear for hours and hours, desperately trying to keep their
children quiet to avoid drawing attention.
And thousands of wounded, alive but carrying with them the bullet holes and the shrapnel wounds and the memory of what they endured.
You all know these traumas never go away.
There are still so many families desperately waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones, not knowing if they’re alive or dead or hostages.
Infants in their mothers’ arms, grandparents in wheelchairs, Holocaust survivors abducted and held hostage — hostages whom Hamas has now threatened to execute in violation of every code of human morality.
The brutality of Hamas — this bloodthirstiness — brings to mind the worst — the worst rampages of ISIS.
This is terrorism.
But sadly, for the Jewish people, it’s not new.
This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and the scars left by a millennia of antisemitism and genocide of the Jewish people.
So, in this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack.
There is no justification for terrorism. There is no excuse.
Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self- determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.
They use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price.
The loss of innocent life is heartbreaking.
Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond — indeed has a duty to respond — to these vicious attacks.
I just got off the phone with — the third call with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I told him if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming.
We also discussed how democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law.
Terrorists purpo- — purposefully target civilians, kill them. We uphold the laws of war — the law of war. It matters. There’s a difference.
Today, Americans across the country are praying for all those families that have been ripped apart. A lot of us know how it feels. It leaves a black hole in your chest when you lose family, feeling like you’re being sucked in. The anger, the pain, the sense of hopelessness.
This is what they mean by a “human tragedy” — an atrocity on an appalling scale.
But we’re going to s- — continue to stand united, supporting the people of Israel who are suffering unspeakable losses and opposing the hatred and violence of terrorism.
My team has been in near constant communication with our Israeli partners and partners all across the region and the world from the moment this crisis began.
We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome.
We’re going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets
to defend its cities and its citizens.
My administration has consulted closely with Congress throughout this crisis. And when Congress returns, we’re going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.
This is not about party or politics. This is about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America.
We now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas.
I’ve directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise the Israeli counterparts on hostage recover- — recovery efforts, because as president I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world.
The United States has also enhanced our military force posture in the region to strengthen our deterrence.
The Department of Defense has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean and bolstered our fighter aircraft presence. And we stand ready to move in additional assets as needed.
Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t.
Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear.
Yesterday, I also spoke with the leaders of
France, Germany, Italy, and the UK to discuss the latest developments with our European allies and coordinate our united response.
This comes on top of days of steady engagement with partners across the region.
We’re also taking steps at home. In cities across the United States of America, police departments have stepped up security around centers for —
of Jewish life.
And the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are working closely with state and local law enforcement and Jewish community partners to identify and disrupt any domestic threat that could emerge in connection with these horrific attacks.
This is a moment for the United States to come together, to grieve with those who are mourning.
Let’s be real clear: There is no place for hate in America — not against Jews, not against Muslims, not against anybody. We reject — we reject — what we reject is terrorism. We condemn the indiscriminate evil, just as we’ve always done.
That’s what America stands for.
You know, just over 50 years ago — I was thinking about it this morning, talking with the Secretary of State, the Vice President in my office and — over 50 years ago, as a young senator, I visited Israel for the first time, as a newly elected senator.
And I had a long, long trip — or meeting with Golda Meir in her office just before the Yom Kippur War. And I guess she could see the consternation on my face as she described what was being faced — they were facing.
We walked outside in that — that sort of hallway outside her office to have some photos. She looked at me and w- — all of a sudden and said, “Would you like to have a photograph?” And so, I got up and followed her out.
We were standing there silent, looking at the press. She could tell, I guess, I was concerned. She leaned over and whispered to me — she said, “Don’t worry, Senator Biden. We have a secret weapon here in Israel” — my word this is what she said — “We have no place else to go.” “We have no place else to go.”
For 75 years, Israel has stood as the ultimate guarantor of security of Jewish people around the world so that the atrocities of the past could never happen again.
And let there be no doubt: The United States has Israel’s back.
We will make sure the Jewish and democratic State of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow, as we always have. It’s as simple as that.
These atrocities have been sickening.
We’re — we’re with Israel. Let’s make no mistake. Thank you.
2:34 P.M. EDT
OCTOBER 18, 2023
Remarks by President Biden at Community Engagement to Meet with Israelis Impacted or Involved in the Response to the October 7th Terrorist Attacks | Tel Aviv, Israel
3:57 P.M. IDT
THE PRESIDENT: Folks, there is an Irish poet named William Butler Yeats, and he wrote a line — he said: Too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart. Too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart.
The thing that I found at just this real quick meeting with all of you is none of your hearts have turned to stone yet. Every one of you talked about what you have to do — every one I talked to — about having to reach out, talked about, whether or not they were a Jew or a Muslim, reach out.
And, you know, I’ve often said I remember the first time that I was in Israel with Golda Meir. She was — just before the Six-Day War. And she was telling me how terrible everything was, which it was.
She kept flipping the maps up and down behind her. And all of the sudden, she looked at me, and she said, “Would you like a photograph?” And I thought, “That’s unusual.” And w- — she just got up and walked out that door outside her office.
And we’re standing there having a photograph taken like you and I are standing, looking at the press. And she — without looking at me, she turned and she — like this, and she said, “You look worried, Senator.” I said, “I am.” She said, “Don’t worry, we Jews have a secret weapon in our fight: We have no place else to go.”
Well, the truth of the matter is, if there weren’t an Israel, we’d have to invent
one. The truth of the matter is that I believe that yo- — as I went home and said — I got in trouble at the time, but it was true: You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.
And I think the security and safety of Jews worldwide is anchored in the re- — the continued vibrance of the State of Israel. That’s what I think it’s about at its core.
And so, I’ve admired you — you all, this country for so long. And I’m convinced that the more people know the — your responses to what’s happening as opposed to just what war and peace is about, the more they’re going to be inclined embrace — embrace Israel.
And—butIhavealotmoretosay. ButI’dliketotalktoyouinprivate,ifI can. (Applause.)
Q What evidence have you seen (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: The data I was shown. The data I was shown by my Defense Department.
4:02 P.M. IDT
OCTOBER 20, 2023
Remarks by President Biden on the United States’ Response to Hamas’s Terrorist Attacks Against Israel and Russia’s Ongoing Brutal War Against Ukraine
8:02 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, my fellow Americans. We’re 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. That’s what I’d like to talk with you about tonight.
You know, earlier this morning, I returned from Israel. They tell me I’m the first American president to travel there during a war.
I met with the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet. And most movingly, I met with Israelis who had personally lived through horrific horror of the attack by Hamas on the 7th of October.
More than 1,300 people slaughtered in Israel, including at least 32 American citizens. Scores of innocents — from infants to elderly grandparents, Israelis, Americans — taken hostage.
As I told the families of Americans being held captive by Hamas, we’re pursuing every avenue to bring their loved ones home. As President, there is no higher priority for me than the safety of Americans held hostage.
The terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure, unadulterated evil in the world. But sadly, the Jewish people know, perhaps better than anyone, that there is no limit to the depravity of people when they want to inflict pain on others.
In Israel, I saw a people who are strong, determined, resilient, and also angry,
in shock, and in deep, deep pain.
I also spoke with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self-determination. The actions of Hamas terrorists don’t take that right away.
Like so many other, I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life, including the explosion at a hospital in Gaza — which was not done by the Israelis.
We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity.
You know, the assault on Israel echoes nearly 20 months of war, tragedy, and brutality inflicted on the people of Ukraine — people that were very badly hurt since Putin launched his all-out invasion.
We’ve have not forgotten the mass graves, the bodies found bearing signs of torture, rape used as a weapon by the Russians, and thousands and thousands of Ukrainian children forcibly taken into Russia, stolen from their parents. It’s sick.
Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it.
Hamas — its stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.
Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of them.
Meanwhile, Putin denies Ukraine has or ever had real statehood. He claims the Soviet Union created Ukraine. And just two weeks ago, he told the world that if the United States and our allies withdraw — and if the United States withdraw, our allies will as well — military support for Ukraine, it would
have, quote, “a week left to live.” But we’re not withdrawing.
I know these conflicts can seem far away. And it’s natural to ask: Why does this matter to America?
So let me share with you why making sure Israel and Ukraine succeed is vital for America’s national security. You know, 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. They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising.
So, if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine. He’s — Putin has already threated to “remind” — quote, “remind” Poland that their western land was a gift from Russia.
One of his top advisors, a former president of Russia, has called Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania Russia’s “Baltic provinces.” These are all NATO Allies.
For 75 years, NATO has kept peace in Europe and has been the cornerstone of American security. And if Putin attacks a NATO Ally, we will defend every inch of NATO which the treaty requires and calls for.
We will have something that we do not seek — make it clear: we do not seek — we do not seek to have American troops fighting in Russia or fighting against Russia.
Beyond Europe, we know that our allies and, maybe most importantly, our adversaries and competitors are watching. They’re watching our response in Ukraine as well.
And if we walk away and let Putin erase Ukraine’s independence, would-be aggressors around the world would be emboldened to try the same. The risk of conflict and chaos could spread in other parts of the world — in the Indo- Pacific, in the Middle East — especially in the Middle East.
Iran is — is supporting Russia’s U- — in Ukraine, and it’s supporting Hamas
and other terrorist groups in the region. And we’ll continue to hold them accountable, I might add.
The United States and our partners across the region are working to build a better future for the Middle East, one where the Middle East is more stable, better connected to its neighbors, and — through innovative projects like the India-Middle East-Europe rail corridor that I announced this year at the summit of the world’s biggest economies. More predictable markets, more employment, less rage, less grievances, less war when connected. It benefits the people — it would benefit the people of the Middle East, and it would benefit us.
American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, if we turn our backs on Israel, it’s just not worth it.
That’s why, tomorrow, I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs, to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine.
It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations, help us keep American troops out of harm’s way, help us build a world that is safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous for our children and grandchildren.
In Israel, we must make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always.
The security package I’m sending to Congress and asking Congress to do is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed to — the qualitative military edge.
We’re going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.
Look, at the same time, President [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and I discussed again yesterday the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can. The people of Gaza urgently need food, water, and medicine.
Yesterday, in discussions with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
If Hamas does not divert or steal this shipment — these shipments, we’re going to provide an opening for sustained delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians.
And as I said in Israel: As hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution.
Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity, and peace.
You know, and here at home, we have to be honest with ourselves. In recent years, too much hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling racism, a rise in antisemitism and Islamicphobia [Islamophobia] right here in America.
It’s also intensified in the wake of recent events that led to the horrific threats and attacks that both shock us and break our hearts.
On October 7th, terror attacks have triggered deep scars and terrible memories in the Jewish community.
Today, Jewish families worried about being targeted in school, wearing symbols of their faith walking down the street, or going out about their daily lives.
You know, I know many of you in the Muslim American community or the Arab American community, the Palestinian American community, and so many others are outraged and hurting, saying to yourselves, “Here we go again,” with Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11.
Just last week, a mother was brutally stabbed, a little boy — here in the
United States — a little boy who had just turned six years old was murdered in their home outside of Chicago.
His name was Wadea — Wadea — a proud American, a proud Palestinian American family.
We can’t stand by and stand silent when this happens. We must, without equivocation, denounce antisemitism. We must also, without equivocation, denounce Islamophobia.
And to all of you hurting — those of you who are hurting, I want you to know: I see you. You belong. And I want to say this to you: You’re all America. You’re all America.
This is in a moment where there’s — you know, in moments like these, when fear and suspicion, anger and rage run hard, that we have to work harder than ever to hold on to the values that make us who we are.
We’re a nation of religious freedom, freedom of expression. We all have a right to debate and disagree without fear of being targeted at schools or workplaces or in our communities.
And we must renounce violence and vitriol, see each other not as enemies but as — but as fellow Americans.
When I was in Israel yesterday, I said that when America experienced the hell of 9/11, we felt enraged as well. While we sought and got justice, we made mistakes. So, I cautioned the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage.
And here in America, let us not forget who we are. We reject all forms — all forms of hate, whether against Muslims, Jews, or anyone. That’s what great nations do, and we are great nation.
On Ukraine, I’m asking Congress to make sure we can continue to send Ukraine the weapons they need to defend themselves and their country without interruption so Ukraine can stop Putin’s brutality in Ukraine.
They are succeeding.
When Putin invaded Ukraine, he thought he would take Kyiv and all of Ukraine in a matter of days. Well, over a year later, Putin has failed, and he continues to fail. Kyiv still stands because of the bravery of the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine has regained more than 50 percent of the territory
Russian troops once occupied, backed by a U.S.-led coalition of more than 50 countries around the world all doing its part to support Kyiv.
What would happen if we walked away? We are the essential nation.
Meanwhile, Putin has turned to Iran and North Korea to buy attack drones and ammunition to terrorize Ukrainian cities and people.
From the outset, I have said I will not send American troops to fight in Ukraine.
All Ukraine is asking for is help — for the weapons, munitions, the capacity, the capability to push invading Russian forces off their land, and the air defense systems to shoot down Russian missiles before they destroy Ukrainian cities.
And let me be clear about something: We send Ukraine equipment sitting in our stockpiles. And when we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stores — our own stockpiles with new equipment — equipment that defe- — that defends America and is made in America: Patriot missiles for air defense batteries made in Arizona; artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country — in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas; and so much more.
You know, just as in World War Two, today, patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom.
Let me close with this. Earlier this year, I boarded Air Force One for a secret flight to Poland. There, I boarded a train with blacked-out windows for a 10- hour ride each way to Kyiv to stand with the people of Ukraine ahead of the
one-year anniversary of their brave fight against Putin.
I’m told I was the first American [president] to enter a warzone not controlled by the United States military since President Lincoln.
With me was just a small group of security personnel and a few advisors.
But when I exited that train and met Zelenskyy — President Zelenskyy, I didn’t feel alone. I was bringing with me
the idea of America, the promise of America to the people who are today fighting for the same things we fought for 250 years ago: freedom, independence, self-determination.
And as I walked through Kyiv with President Zelenskyy, with air raid sirens sounding in the distance, I felt something I’ve always believed more strongly than ever before: America is a beacon to the world still. Still.
We are, as my friend Madeleine Albright said, “the indispensable nation.”
Tonight, there are innocent people all over the world who hope because of us, who believe in a better life because of us, who are desperate not be forgotten be- — by us, and who are waiting for us.
But time is of the essence.
I know we have our divisions at home. We have to get past them. We can’t let petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation.
We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen.
In moments like these, we have to remind — we have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America — the United States of America. And there is nothing — nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
My fellow Americans, thank you for your time.
May God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. 8:17 P.M. EDT
NOVEMBER 24, 2023
Remarks by President Biden on the Release of Hostages from Gaza
White Elephant Nantucket Nantucket, Massachusetts
2:16 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks. We all set?
AIDE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. Yesterday, families all across America gathered together with their loved ones and to — to give thanks.
We have much to be thankful for in America: the food on our tables, the family and loved ones in our homes, and the many blessings that come from living in the greatest nation on Earth.
And today, we can also be thankful of families being recruited and reunited with loved ones who have been held hostage for nearly 50 days.
Beginning this morning, under a deal reached by extensive U.S. diplomacy, including numerous calls I’ve made from the Oval Office to leaders across the region, fighting in Gaza will halt for four days.
This deal also is structured to allow a pause to continue for more than 50 hostages to be released. That’s our goal.
This morning, I’ve been engaged with my team as we began the first difficult days of implementing this deal.
It is only a start, but, so far, it’s gone well. Earlier this morning, 13 Israeli hostages were released, including an elderly woman — a grandmother — and
mothers with their young children, some under the age of six years old.
Separately, several Thai nationals and Filipino nationals who were also kidnapped by Hamas on the 7th, they were released as well.
All of these hostages have been through a terrible ordeal, and this is the beginning of a long journey of healing for them.
The teddy bears waiting to greet those children at the hospital are a stark reminder of the trauma these children have been through and at such a very young age.
Jill and I — and Jill is with me here — are keeping them all in our prayers today.
Today — today has been the product of a lot of hard work and weeks of personal engagement.
From the moment Hamas kidnapped these people, I, along with my team, have worked around the clock to secure their release.
We saw the first results of this effort with the release of two American hostages in late October followed by the release of two Israeli hostages.
I have consistently pressed for a pause in the fighting for two reasons: to accelerate and expand the humanitarian assistance going into Gaza and, two, to facilitate the release of hostages.
And over the past several weeks, I’ve spoken repeatedly with the Emir of Qatar, the President Sisi of Egypt, and Prime Minister Netanya- — Netanyahu of Israel to help secure this deal — to nail it down. And I want to thank all three leaders for their personal partnership to get this done.
I spoke with the Emir and President El-Sisi and the Prime Minister Netanyahu again on Wednesday to confirm the elements of the engagement.
As I said, today’s release are the start of a process. We expect more hostages to be released tomorrow and more the day after and more the day after that.
Over the next few days, we expect that dozens of hostages will be returned to their families.
We also remember all those who are still being held and renew our commitment to work for their release as well. Two American women and one four-year-old child, Abigail, who remains among those missing.
We also will not stop until we get these hostages brought home and an answer to their whereabouts.
I remain in personal contact with the leaders of Qatar, Egypt, and Israel to make sure this stays on track and every aspect of the deal is implemented.
You know, this extended pause in the fighting brings a critical opportunity to deliver much-needed food, medicine, water, and fuel to the civilians in Gaza, and we are not wasting one single minute.
Since my trip to Israel last month, I’ve been focused on accelerating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza in coordination with the United Nations and the Red Cross.
I just spoke with my Special Envoy for the Middle East Humanitarian Issues, David Satterfield, for an update, and I’ve asked him to monitor our progress hour by hour and keep me personally informed.
From the beginning, we have put in place mechanisms to prevent Hamas from diverting these supplies, and we are continuing that effort to make sure aid gets to the people who need it.
More than 200 trucks arrived at the crossing point in Egypt into Gaza today. These trucks carry food and medicine, as well as fue- — fuel and cooking gas. The fuel will be used not only to power the trucks delivering these lifesaving supplies but for desalinization, for water wells, for hospitals, and for bakeries.
And hundreds more trucks are getting in position as well, ready to enter Gaza over the coming days to support the innocent Palestinians who are suffering greatly because of this war that Hamas has unleashed. Hamas doesn’t give a
damn about them.
We also look to the future. As we look to the future, we have to end this cycle of violence in the Middle East.
We need to renew our resolve to pursue this two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can one day live side by side in a two-state solution with equal measure of freedom and dignity.
Two states for two peoples. And it’s more important now than ever.
Hamas unleashed this terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.
You know, to continue down the path of terror and violence and killing and war is to give Hamas what they seek. And we can’t do that.
So, today, let’s continue to be thankful for all the families who are now and those who will soon be brought together again.
And I want to one — once again thank the Emir of Qatar, President Sisi of Egypt, and Prime Minister Netanyahu for their partnership to make what we’ve done so far possible and for their continued leadership as we all keep working to implement this deal.
And over the coming days, I’ll remain engaged with leaders throughout the Middle East as we all work together to build a better future for the region — a future where this kind of violence is unthinkable; a future where all children in the region — every child — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab — grow up knowing only peace. That’s what we do.
We’re waiting now — it’ll be just a matter of — I thought maybe even as soon as by the time I got here. But in the next hour or so, we’ll know what the second wave of releases are. And I’m hopeful that it’s — it’s as — as we anticipate.
So, thank you all for listening. I’ll take a few questions.
Q Mr. President, when will the first American hostages be released, since none were included today?
THE PRESIDENT: We don’t know when that will occur, but we’re going to be — expect it to occur. And we don’t know what the list of all the hostages are and when they’ll be released, but we know the numbers that are going to be released. So, it is my hope and expectation it will be soon.
Q And of the 10 Americans that are unaccounted for, do you know all of their conditions? Are they all alive?
THE PRESIDENT: We don’t know all their conditions.
Q Mr. President, how long do you expect this war is going to take? And have you encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to set a timeline — say, by the end of this year?
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve encouraged the Prime Minister to — to focus on trying to reduce the number of casualties while he is attempting to eliminate Hamas, which is a legitimate objective he has. That’s a difficult task, and I don’t know how long it will take.
My expectation and hope is that, as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world and the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down, to bring this to an end as quickly as we can.
Q Mr. President, do you trust Hamas to uphold their end of the deal?
Q Mr. President, what are the chances of this truce could be extended by a few days or more?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the chances are real.
Q Mr. President, there are members of your party who would like to see conditions placed on aid to Israel. What is your view on that? They would like to see, you know, a reduction in the bombing and that sort of thing.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that’s a — a worthwhile thought, but I don’t
think if I started off with that we’d ever gotten to where we are today.
Q Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: We have to take this a piece at a time.
Q Mr. President, do you trust Hamas to uphold their end of the deal?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t trust Hamas to do anything right. I only trust Hamas to respond to pressure.
Q Mr. President, you said you were hoping to get cooperation from Arab leaders. What are you hearing from them when you talk to them? What would you like to see them do?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m hearing a lot, but I’m not going to speak to it right now. There’s an overwhelming desire on the part of the region to — let me back up. I’m — I cannot prove what I’m about to say, but I believe one of the reasons why Hamas struck when they did was they knew that I was working very closely with the Saudis and others in the region to bring peace to the region by having recognition of Israel and Israel’s right to exist.
You may recall when we did the G20 about — a little while ago, I was able to get a resolution — I — a statement passed through there saying we were going to build a railroad from Riyadh all the way through the Middle East into — into Saudi Arabia, Israel, et cetera, and all the way up to Europe. Not the — not the railroad, but it would be an — an underground pipeline and then railroad.
The whole idea is: There’s overwhelming interest — and I think most Arab nations know it — in coordinating with one another to change the dynamic in their region for a longer-term peace. And that is what I’m going to continue to work on.
Thank you all very, very much. I appreciate it.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q Happy Thanksgiving.
THE PRESIDENT: Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope you enjoyed it.
2:26 P.M. EST