In historic visit, Biden accepts Israel's version of Gaza hospital blast

US president's visit to Amman cancelled after Gaza hospital explosion; 'I am coming to Israel to stand in solidarity against the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas and to consult about the next steps'

Itamar Eichner |
U.S. President Joe Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday morning in Israel for a historic visit.
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"I am coming to Israel to stand in solidarity against the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas and to consult about the next steps," Biden said Tuesday night as he boarded Air Force One for Israel.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן בניו יורק
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו פגישה עם נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן בניו יורק
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with US President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv
( Photo: Jim WATSON / AFP)
He was met at the airport by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog for the visit, scheduled to last just a few hours. When they met, Biden gave the prime minister a warm hug, and Herzog said to him: "Welcome, God bless you for protecting the Israeli nation."
Biden and Netanyahu delivered statements before the start of their meeting. Biden called the courage of the Israeli people "stunning" and appeared to accept Israel's version of the bombing of a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night, saying it was "done by the other team." Netanyahu thanked Biden for coming, adding: “I have seen your support every day in the breadth and depth of cooperation that we have had since the beginning of this war.”

US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give statements before their meeting in Tel Aviv
(Photo: Chagai Dekel)

Biden was supposed to continue to a summit in Jordan, with King Abdullah and the presidents of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which was canceled following the explosion at the hospital in Gaza.
This will be the first time that a US president comes to the State of Israel during a war. Biden is coming here for a quick visit that should last only four to five hours. From Israel he was supposed to continue to Jordan, where a four-way summit was planned to take place with King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas canceled his participation Tuesday night after the explosion at the hospital in the Zeitoon neighborhood, which Hamas claimed was caused from an attack by the IDF, and hours later Jordan announced that the summit would not take place. Israel's military said that it was a failed launch by the Islamic Jihad.
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן לפני המראתו לישראל
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן לפני המראתו לישראל
Biden boards his fight to Israel
(Photo: AFP)
From the airport Biden traveled to a hotel in Tel Aviv; the meetings will not be held in the Kirya defense headquarters in Tel Aviv. In the hotel, he will meet separately with Netanyahu and Herzog, and then he will meet with the limited war cabinet.
Ahead of the visit, the spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, John Kirby, said that Biden is expected to meet in Israel with families of the victims of the terrorist attack by Hamas, and also meet family members of hostages in Gaza. Kirby noted that Biden plans to present "tough questions" to his colleagues in Israel, and that he will deal with the humanitarian issue in Gaza and the issue of the abductees, as well as Israel's plans for the future. "We are optimistic that we will be able to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza," said Kirby. "We are getting closer to the outline for the transfer of aid to Gaza from Egypt."
"Tomorrow, for the first time in the history of Israel's wars, the leader of the greatest power in the world will arrive to be with us in the difficult days," said the Chief of Staff for National Security Tzachi Hanegbi. "This is not only an identification with the pain of each and every one of us. It is also a political and practical statement that expresses identification with the determination we are demonstrating to achieve the goals of the war until complete victory. Not only in his public statements and the statements he made to Iran and Hezbollah, President Biden made it clear to his enemies that if it occurred to them to join the attack against the citizens of Israel, there will be American involvement here. Israel will not be alone," he said.
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