U.S. President Joe Biden has issued a stern warning to Israel: any plans for occupying Gaza must be abandoned immediately. This warning comes directly from the White House and Joe Biden himself.
"In my view, what's happening in Gaza is Hamas. And the extreme elements in Hamas do not represent the entire Palestinian people," Biden said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."
A Remarkable Statement
CNN reporters describe the statement as "one of Biden's most remarkable public calls." The American president has rarely warned Israel to exercise any form of restraint in its response to Hamas attacks on October 7.
He has previously declared full support for Israel in the conflict.
In the CBS interview, Biden emphasized that Hamas must be eliminated. "But there must be a Palestinian authority. There must be a path to a Palestinian state," he said. The President added that occupying Gaza would be a "big mistake."
Last week, Israel initiated a total blockade against Gaza, stopping all water, electricity, food, and fuel at the border.
The situation is described as a humanitarian disaster, and several human rights organizations have warned that Israel's call for evacuation cannot be heeded as the infrastructure has been destroyed in Israeli attacks.
Israel itself denies any interest in continuing to occupy Gaza once the conflict is over. "We have no desire to occupy or reoccupy Gaza. We have no desire to rule the lives of more than two million Palestinians," said Michael Herzog, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., to CNN.
In the CBS interview, Biden also commented on reports that Iran may have been involved in preparations for the shock attack against Israel on October 7.
"Iran is constantly supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. But whether they had prior knowledge or helped plan the attack? There is no evidence for that at this point," said Joe Biden.