Chris Megerian and Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 9:29 PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, November 1, 2023 9:29 PM EDT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – President Joe Biden said he believes there should be a humanitarian “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war after his campaign speech Wednesday night was interrupted by protesters calling for a ceasefire. Stated.
“I think we need a pause,” Biden said.
The call comes as Biden and the White House have remained steadfast throughout the Middle East crisis that they will not dictate how Israel conducts military operations in response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. For those close to him, it was a subtle deviation.
But the president faces increasing pressure from human rights groups, world leaders and even liberal members of his own Democratic Party who argue that Israel’s air strikes on Gaza are collective punishment and that the time has come for a ceasefire. ing.
In his comments, Mr. Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to provide at least a short period of relief from the relentless military operation that has left thousands of Palestinians dead and plunged the 141-square-mile area into a quagmire of humanitarian crisis. There was pressure to grant a reprieve.
The White House has rejected calls for a ceasefire, but has urged Israel to consider a humanitarian moratorium to allow civilians to receive aid and foreigners trapped in the Gaza Strip to leave. suggested that it should.
The military announced Wednesday that Israeli ground forces had advanced near Gaza City and engaged in heavy fighting with militants. Meanwhile, hundreds of foreigners and dozens of seriously injured Palestinians were allowed to leave Gaza after more than three weeks of siege.
The first people to leave Gaza, with the exception of four hostages freed by Hamas and one rescued by the Israeli military, came as hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes by bombing and ran out of food, water and fuel. He fled and went to Egypt.
White House National Security Council Press Secretary John Kirby said early Wednesday that Biden’s newly confirmed ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, would soon be sent to the Middle East to “support U.S. efforts to create the conditions for a humanitarian moratorium.” He said he will take on part of the mission to provide support. This is to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation facing Palestinian civilians. ”
On Wednesday night, as Mr. Biden spoke to a crowd in Minneapolis about why he was running for president in 2020, a woman stood up and shouted: Mr. President, if you care about the Jewish people, as a rabbi, please call for a ceasefire. ”
His presence in the city attracted more than 1,000 demonstrators not far from where the fundraiser was held, who were seen wearing Palestinian flags, “Stop Bombing Children” and ” They held placards reading “Liberate Palestine” and “Ceasefire now!”.
Biden said he understood the emotions motivating the protesters, who were quickly yelled at and removed by others in the room. When asked, he said a moratorium “means giving the prisoners time to get out.” White House officials later clarified that he meant hostages and humanitarian aid.
“This is incredibly complicated for Israelis,” Biden continued. “It’s incredibly complicated for the Muslim world as well. … I’ve been a supporter of a two-state solution from the beginning.”
“The truth is, Hamas is a terrorist organization. A complete terrorist organization,” he said.
But Biden pointed to his commitment to humanitarian aid, saying he was the one who convinced both Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to allow aid to Gaza.
“I’m the man,” he said.
Madani reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Colleen Long in Washington and Amy Foleyty in Minneapolis contributed to this report.