In response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to destroy the Palestinian militant group Hamas following their Saturday attack, President Joe Biden urged Israel to abide by the “rules of war.” This statement came during a meeting at the White House with leaders of the American Jewish community. Biden, who earlier sent a US aircraft carrier to the region in a show of support for Israel, also issued a stern warning to Iran, the sponsor of Hamas, advising them to “be careful” amidst the escalating conflict.
During the meeting, President Biden emphasized the severity of the attacks against Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people, according to the Israeli military. He described these attacks as the “deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.” Biden disclosed that he had spoken with Netanyahu earlier that day, emphasizing the importance of Israel, despite its anger and frustration, operating within the boundaries set by the rules of war.
This marks the first time President Biden has appealed for moderation in Israel’s retaliation against what he called the “pure cruelty” of Hamas’ Saturday attacks. Netanyahu had previously promised the complete destruction of the Palestinian militant group, comparing its members to the Islamic State group, stating, “Every member of Hamas is a dead man.”
In addition to addressing Israel, President Biden issued a strong warning to Iran. He highlighted the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, and its fleet to the region. Biden emphasized that the US had made it clear to the Iranians to exercise caution.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also traveled to Israel early Wednesday as a demonstration of solidarity with the country. While concerns about regional confrontation have risen, US officials stated that they had not yet seen any intelligence indicating Iran’s direct involvement in Hamas’ attack planning. The conflict has heightened fears of internal attacks in the United States and exacerbated concerns about the resurgence of antisemitism within the country. As a response, heightened security measures have been implemented around Jewish community centers.