BIDEN ON ISRAEL: “They Have the Right to Defend Themselves”

On May 12th, President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm U.S. support for Israel after a night of bloodshed with civilians in Tel Aviv sheltering from Hamas rockets.

Israel has launched airstrikes against the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to target caches of rockets stored by the Islamist group close to where civilians live. President Biden told reporters at the White House, “I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not so long ago. I’ll be putting out a statement very shortly on that.” He continued, “My expectation and hope are that this will be closing down sooner than later. But Israel has a right to defend itself against thousands of rockets flying into your territory.” Biden stated that “my national security staff and defense staff has been in constant contact with their counterparts in the Middle East, not just with the Israelis but also with everyone from the Egyptians to the Saudis to the Emiratis, etc.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke separately with Prime Minister Netanyahu to reaffirm U.S. support. The State Department said that Blinken “expressed his concerns regarding the barrage of rocket attacks on Israel, his condolences for the lives lost as a result, and the United States’ strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” By using the U.S.-subsidized Iron Dome missile defense system, Israel was able to shoot down

many rockets from Gaza. Prior to this, Biden faced backlash over his down-the-middle approach to the growing situation in Israel. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the president to give full support to Israel. Senator McConnell expressed, “Israel must know that their friends and allies in the United States stand with them. We support Israel’s right to peace and security. We support their goal of restoring deterrence.”




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