US President Joe Biden has delivered some of his sharpest criticism of Israel, calling the Israeli offensive on Gaza “over the top”.
“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in the Gaza Strip has been over the top,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday Feb. 8.
The 81-year-old said that he has been pushing really hard to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza and for a ceasefire deal for a “sustained pause”.
“There are a lot of innocent people who are starving. Lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying. And it’s got to stop,” he said.
He made the comments after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a 4.5 month ceasefire deal proposed by Hamas that would the release of all Israeli hostages and Palestinians held in Israeli jails, Israel withdrawing its troops from Gaza and an agreement to end the war.
Biden’s remarks are seen as some of his sharpest criticism of Israel, which the US has strongly supported since it declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7.
However, in the same speech, Biden also mistakenly called Egypt’s president Abdel Fatah El-Sisi “Mexico’s president”.
“I think that, as you know, initially the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in,” he said. “I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate. I talked to Bibi to open the gate on the Israeli side.”
His slip-up went viral on social media, with people questioning his memory, which he had just defended.
Just moments prior, a reported asked Biden how bad his memory was and whether he can continue as president.
“My memory is so bad I let you speak… My memory is fine,” he said.
Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive have killed more than 27,500 Palestinians, mostly women and children, since the war began on Oct. 7.
On Jan. 24, the International Court of Justice found that there was a “plausible” case of Israel committing genocide in Gaza and called on Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide.
In response, Israel accused 12 United Nations workers in Gaza of being linked to Hamas, leading multiple western countries to withdraw funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the main humanitarian organization in Gaza and the only one that has been allowed into Gaza to deliver aid since Oct. 7.