Biden, at fundraiser, again expresses empathy for Israel; Clinton: 'He really cares about preserving its existence'

US president put aside confrontation with Netanyahu and at campaign event reiterated his support for Israel and the need to help Gazans: 'In Israel, people were not killed, they were massacred'; His predecessors, Obama and Clinton, stung the Netanyahu administration; Palestinian supporters protested at the event

Daniel Edelson, New York |
"We must get more food, medicine and supplies for the Palestinians, but we cannot forget that Israel is in a situation where its very existence is at stake," U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday night at a fundraising event for his campaign ahead of the 2024 elections. Biden said these words against the backdrop of tensions between Washington and Jerusalem after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the departure of an Israeli delegation to the U.S. to discuss the fighting in Rafah following the U.S.'s abstention from voting at the United Nations on a proposed resolution for a cease-fire in the fighting in Gaza.

At the fundraising event held in New York, Biden also said: "There are too many innocent victims, Israeli and Palestinian. We’ve got to get more food and medicine, supplies into the Palestinians. But we can’t forget, Israel is in a position where its very existence is at stake. You have to have all those people. They weren’t killed. They were massacred. They were massacred."
"Imagine if this happened in the U.S., where a mother and daughter are tied together, oil poured on them, and they are burned to death It is understandable that Israel has such deep anger, and Hamas is still there, but we must stop the (war) effort that causes the significant death of innocent civilians, especially children," he also said.
The American president refrained from detailing his plans for "the day after" the war in Gaza, but at the same time he noted in his speech that "I have worked with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. They are ready to fully recognize Israel, but first there must be a plan for the 'day after' in Gaza, and there must be a way forward for a two-state solution."
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן, נשיאי ארה"ב לשעבר ברק אובמה וביל קלינטון משתתפים בדיון בהנחיית סטיבן קולבר, מנחה "המופע המאוחרת עם סטיבן קולבר" של CBS במהלך אירוע התרמה לקמפיין ברדיו סיטי מיוזיק הול בניו יורק, ארה"ב, 28 במרץ 2024.
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן, נשיאי ארה"ב לשעבר ברק אובמה וביל קלינטון משתתפים בדיון בהנחיית סטיבן קולבר, מנחה "המופע המאוחרת עם סטיבן קולבר" של CBS במהלך אירוע התרמה לקמפיין ברדיו סיטי מיוזיק הול בניו יורק, ארה"ב, 28 במרץ 2024.
U.S. President Joe Biden, and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton participate in a debate moderated by Stephen Colbert
(Reuters/Elizabeth Franz)
"It doesn't have to happen today, but there has to be progress, and I think we can do it. That's why we see more routes opening into Gaza to bring food and medicine and there's a lot more we can do. I'm sure it can be done and keep Israel safe, thereby preserving the State of Israel."

'Relieve the suffering of the innocent Palestinians'

Former President Bill Clinton also spoke at the fundraising event about the war in Gaza.
"One of the most important reasons for electing President Biden is that he really cares about preserving the existence of Israel, which Hamas does not. It is really important for him to give the Palestinians a decent state of autonomy and the support they need for self-determination," he said.
Clinton implicitly criticized the Netanyahu administration, however.
"The world we live in is difficult because you have to hold two seemingly contradictory ideas in your head at the same time. But don't forget, especially if you are younger, and all you know is the Israeli government that denies the rights of the Palestinians. Joe Biden says he wants a two-state solution … and you have to trust that he will work for it. We must act to ease the suffering of the completely innocent Palestinian citizens and not allow Israel's security to be harmed because of the legitimacy of the Palestinians to want a state," he said.
Former President Barack Obama also spoke at the star-studded event.
"When you look at a situation like we see in Gaza and Israel, your heart breaks, first of all at a massacre of unbelievable cruelty. You can also say that we unequivocally support the people of Israel and their ability to exist and raise families and so on - which is Joe's position - and at the same time we can also break our hearts as we see innocent people being killed,and try to get through it in a way that will eventually lead to the two people being able to live peacefully side by side," he said.
"It's not an easy task but you can have moral clarity and have strong convictions and still recognize that the world is complicated and these problems are difficult to solve," Obama said.
Obama praised Biden's "moral judgment and clarity," adding that "he's also willing to recognize that the world is complicated, he's willing to listen to all sides of this debate and any other debate and try to see if we can find common ground. That's the kind of president I want."

Pro-Palestinian protests at the fundraising event

When pro-Palestinian protesters erupted at Obama's words, he replied to them in a kind of sting to the Netanyahu administration: "You can't just talk and not listen. That's what the other side is doing." Meanwhile, outside the venue where the event was held, pro-Palestinians demonstrated against the war in Gaza and American support for Israel.
The event raised more than $25 million for Biden's U.S. reelection campaign.
Tickets for the event were sold at prices ranging from $250 to $500,000. Singers Lizzo and Queen Latifah appeared at the event as well as photographer Annie Leibovitz, who donated photos of the presidents to large donors. Some guests at the event were awarded a selfie with the presidents in exchange for a check for $100,000.
After canceling the departure of the Israeli delegation that was supposed to discuss with senior officials in Washington the plans for a military operation in Rafah, Netanyahu informed the members of the War Cabinet that he intends to send the delegation to Washington next week. Political officials who spoke to Ynet said that "Netanyahu realized that he was wrong." According to them, "the majority of the cabinet ministers believed that it was a mistake not to send the delegation in the first place and believed that the delegation should be sent there as soon as possible."
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