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Biden to Netanyahu: Occupying the Gaza Strip would be a big mistake

US President Joe Biden said yesterday, Wednesday, that he made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two-state solution is the only answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that occupying the Gaza Strip would be a ‘big mistake’.

Biden told reporters that he is doing everything he can to free the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, but that does not mean he will send in the US military.

The US president had told reporters this week that his message to the hostages is “hold on, we’re coming”, raising questions about what he meant.

When asked to clarify that comment, Biden replied: “What I meant is I’m doing everything I can to get you. We come to help you, to get you out of there. I did not mean that I am sending the army there (…) I was not talking about the army”.

The American president pointed out that he is constantly working on the issue and that he will not stop until the hostages, including a three-year-old child with American citizenship, are released.

Qatar is leading negotiations between Hamas and Israeli officials to free the roughly 240 hostages. They were captured during the Palestinian movement’s attack on Israel on October 7, in which Hamas killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israel in retaliation launched a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip and in late October launched ground operations in the enclave, killing more than 11,000 people, 40% of whom were children.

Biden said Hamas is committing war crimes by having military infrastructure under a hospital, echoing statements made by a White House spokesman on Tuesday, and added that he was confident of US intelligence evidence supporting that “fact.”

Besides, he pointed out that the Israel entered Al Shifa Hospitalthe largest in Gaza, with a limited number of soldiers with weapons, and does not indiscriminately bombard the area.

“We told them (…) we discussed the need for them to be extremely careful,” Biden said, adding that Israel has a responsibility to be as careful as possible when striking targets.

However, the American president estimated that it is “not realistic” for Israel to suspend its military actions given the threats of senior Hamas officials, that they intend to attack Israel again, and their previous “horrific” actions.

“Hamas has already publicly stated that they intend to attack Israel again, as they have done in the past when they decapitated babies,” he said, repeating statements he made last month when he said he saw images of decapitated babies.

The White House last month clarified that US officials have not seen evidence of this and pointed out that Biden was referring to media reports of these actions.

At the same time, Biden said yesterday that Israel is bringing incubators and other equipment to Gaza to help civilians and that its soldiers are offering doctors, nurses and other staff a chance to “escape evil.”

Israel announced yesterday that its forces found weapons and military equipment belonging to Hamas at al-Shifa Hospital during their search there. The Palestinian movement rejected the announcement, calling it “lies”.

The American president noted that he told Netanyahu that he does not believe the war will end unless the two-state solution is implemented. “I made it clear to Israel that I think it is a big mistake for them to occupy Gaza,” he said.

Source: News Beast

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