October 7 was “like fifteen” Al-Qaeda attacks, the US president said in Tel Aviv
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday argued that the Hamas attack on Israel was worse than the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and vowed that America would “forever” stand with the Jewish state.
At least 31 Americans were among “more than 1,300 innocent Israelis” killed by Hamas on October 7, Biden told the audience in Tel Aviv, from the music festival near the Gaza border to the nearby villages and kibbutzes.
“Children slaughtered. Babies slaughtered. Entire families massacred. Rape, beheadings, bodies burned alive,” Biden recited, comparing Hamas to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and their atrocities to “pure unadulterated evil” that cannot be rationalized or excused.
“Since this terrorist attack took place, we have seen it described as Israel’s 9/11. But for a nation the size of Israel, it was like fifteen 9/11s,” Biden said. “The scale may be different, but I’m sure those horrors have tapped into some kind of primal feeling in Israel, just like it did and felt in the US.”
The US leader urged Israelis to not get “consumed” by the “all-consuming rage” they surely feel, noting that the Americans were also enraged after 9/11, “and while we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”
Biden noted that Hamas “does not represent the Palestinian people,” who are “suffering greatly as well.” The people of Gaza “need food, water, medicine, shelter,” and the US has asked Israel to agree to humanitarian deliveries from Egypt to the Palestinian territory – so long as they are inspected and do not go to Hamas.
The US has pledged $100 million in new humanitarian assistance to both Gaza and the West Bank, to support more than a million displaced and conflict-affected Palestinians, Biden announced.
According to Biden, peace will only come with a “two-state solution” and the recent attacks have only strengthened his “commitment and determination” to get that done.
“You are not alone. As long as the United States stands – and we will stand forever – we will not let you ever be alone,” Biden told the Israeli audience, concluding, “Israel will be a safe, secure, Jewish, and Democratic state today, tomorrow, and forever.”
October 18, 2023 at 11:21PM