US President Joe Biden reassured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he believed Israel was not responsible for the strike on Gaza City’s al-Ahli Hospital. Biden expressed his deep sadness and outrage over the incident, which has claimed over 500 lives according to Palestinian officials.
The visit of President Biden to Israel was seen as a gesture of support. However, his planned meetings with other regional leaders, including King Abdullah II of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, were canceled after the hospital strike, which Jordan blames on Israel.
Netanyahu, on the other hand, blamed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, for the destruction at al-Ahli Hospital. He claimed that the militant group launched rockets that came close to the hospital. However, Palestinian Islamic Jihad denies these allegations.
During their meeting, President Biden focused on condemning the crimes committed by Hamas. He compared their actions to those of ISIS, claiming that they have committed evils and atrocities that make ISIS look somewhat more rational. He also emphasized that Hamas does not represent all of the Palestinian people and has only brought suffering to them.
Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog assigned some of the blame on civilian Palestinians, stating that they are responsible for the situation in Gaza. He argued that the Palestinian people could have risen up and fought against the evil regime that took over Gaza.
The conflict between Hamas and Fatah, the secular Palestinian political party, dates back to the 1970s when Israel supported Hamas as a counterweight to Fatah. However, tensions between the two factions escalated after Hamas won the 2006 election to the Palestinian parliament, leading to a violent power struggle for control over Gaza.
Despite the deadly strike on al-Ahli Hospital and the ongoing violence in Gaza, the United States has pledged to continue providing military assistance to Israel. This support comes after a deadly incursion into southern Israel by Hamas earlier this month, resulting in hundreds of deaths and the capture of hostages.
The Israeli government has vowed to obliterate Hamas and has subjected Gaza to heavy bombardments in response to the attacks. The situation in Gaza has led to widespread protests and international condemnation, with world leaders calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
President Biden’s visit to Israel and his meetings with regional leaders were intended to show solidarity and support. However, the hospital strike has further strained relations in the region and highlighted the ongoing tensions and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, with hopes for a peaceful resolution that can bring an end to the bloodshed and suffering.