US President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, expressing his concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and accusing Hamas of using innocent Palestinians as human shields.
Biden, who addressed a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, said that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination, and that it has committed the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza — innocent Palestinian families and the vast majority that have nothing to do with Hamas — they’re being used as human shields,” he said. “We have to reject hate in every form.”
Biden also briefed Netanyahu and Abbas on the regional efforts to ensure civilian access to food, water and medical care, and reiterated his unwavering support for Israel’s security. He thanked Netanyahu for the deep US-Israeli cooperation, and urged Abbas to allow humanitarian corridors from Gaza to deliver essential supplies.
The phone calls came amid international condemnation of Hamas’s brutal attack on Israel last week, in which it killed at least 1,300 people, mostly civilians, by infiltrating the border and launching rockets and suicide bombings. Israel responded with airstrikes and ground operations that targeted Hamas’s infrastructure and leadership, but also caused casualties among Gaza’s population.
Hamas has been trying to repair its image by releasing propaganda videos that claim to show its terrorists releasing hostages or sparing civilians, but the IDF has exposed them as lies and fabrications. The terror group has also been facing criticism from its rival Abbas, who heads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority that controls the West Bank.
Abbas, who spoke with Biden for the first time since he took office, called for stopping all attacks and respecting international humanitarian law in Gaza. He also stressed the need for a political solution that would end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.