President Biden, who is currently on a trip to Israel, expressed his deep outrage and sadness in response to the al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital explosion in Gaza. The airstrike took place around 7:30 PM local time and is said to have killed at least 500 Palestinians.
“The numbers are staggering for a single event,” said John Kirby, underscoring the President’s concern. President Biden has taken action by directing the national security team to gather as much information and context as possible to understand how this tragic incident occurred.
In a conversation with reporters during his trip to Tel Aviv, Kirby emphasized the administration’s unwavering commitment to the principle that innocent civilian lives should be spared from harm in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He stated, “The proper number of civilian casualties in a conflict like this is zero, and we stand by that.”
A summit involving Palestinian, US, Jordanian, and Egyptian leaders was abruptly canceled mere hours before Joe Biden’s scheduled regional visit.
King Abdullah II condemned the strike as a “shame on humanity” and urged Israel to halt its Gaza military campaign. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel, condemning it as a “hideous war crime” that crossed “all red lines.”
During his visit to Israel, President Biden is scheduled to engage in a series of meetings.
His itinerary includes:
- Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu: President Biden will hold a restricted bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “When he talks to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to the war cabinet, he’s going to be doing a few things. One, he’s going to get a sense from the Israelis about the situation on the ground and, more critically, their objectives, their plans, their intentions in the days and weeks ahead. And he’ll be asking some tough questions,” noted Kirby.
- Meeting with the Israeli War Cabinet: President Biden’s team will also have a meeting with the Israeli war cabinet. According to Kirby, Biden is going to make it clear that “we continue to want to see this conflict not widen, not expand, not deepen.”
- Meeting with Israeli First Responders: As a show of support and appreciation for those on the front lines, President Biden will meet with Israeli first responders.
- Meeting with Families: Biden will meet with those who have tragically lost their loved ones, as well as those who are still awaiting information about the fate of their family members.
President Biden will address the humanitarian situation in Gaza. He wants to see humanitarian assistance flow in instead of being just a “one-and-done.” Kirby stressed that the US wants food, water, electrical power, medicine be in supply to the people of Gaza.
Biden is also scheduled to deliver remarks to the press.