President Biden told hecklers at a campaign event Monday that he’s “quietly” pushing Israel to “significantly get out of Gaza” — making the disclosure just days after Israeli authorities moved to reduce troop levels in the Palestinian territory.
“I understand their passion and I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza — and I’m using all that I can to do that,” the 81-year-old president said after anti-Israel protesters disrupted his event at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
White House officials, including Biden himself, had staunchly supported Israel’s invasion to remove the Hamas terrorist group from power after its Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel that killed about 1,200 people, including at least 39 Americans.
Last week, the Israeli government began removing thousands of troops from northern parts of the Gaza Strip after largely defeating Hamas in Gaza City. Hamas still controls much of central and southern Gaza.
Refugees have not been permitted to leave the densely populated territory of more than 2 million people and the Biden administration previously emphasized US efforts to provide humanitarian relief while calling on Israel to avoid civilian casualties.
Biden’s Monday statement came after months of large protests against him and a campaign by Muslim-Americans to oppose his re-election — including a raucous Nov. 4 rally outside the White House where protesters chanted “Genocide Joe!” and smeared red handprints on the front gate.
Polls show younger voters, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans — traditionally heavily Democratic voting groups — strongly opposed Biden’s pro-Israel stance.
In public remarks, Biden subordinates until now have continued to voice support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
At a White House press briefing last week, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Israel appeared on track to militarily defeat Hamas when a reporter asked him, “Does the US believe the elimination of Hamas … is an attainable goal?
“We believe that it is absolutely an attainable goal for the Israeli military forces to degrade and defeat Hamas’s abilities to conduct attacks inside Israel,” Kirby responded, later adding: “It can be done militarily.”