Biden promises to bring home missing Americans from Israel and Gaza

October 11, 2023

President Biden on Wednesday afternoon reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Israel and his commitment to bring home the Americans unaccounted for in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Saturday.

The President’s latest remarks on the conflict came during a roundtable with Jewish community leaders, along with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish. In fact, the event had been initially scheduled for Emhoff to lead, but the conflict in Israel compelled the President to address the meeting, as well. 

“We are outraged,” said Emhoff ahead of introducing the President. “Our broken hearts. We are sending our love, our strength and our unwavering support to the people of Israel.”

He added, “The toll on Israel and the Jewish community is hard to imagine, be we can imagine it because it’s happening.”

Biden began his speech by thanking the community leaders, acknowledging to them, “You’ve been breaking your neck to deal with this this overall issue of anti-semitism. And I know many of you are personally impacted by what’s happened in Israel.”

Appearing to address the journalists in the room, Biden said, “You’re going to shout to me, ‘What are you doing to get these folks home?’ If I told you, I wouldn’t be able to get them home. Folks, there’s a lot we are doing. I have not given up hope in bringing these folks home.’

White House press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during the daily White House press briefing on Wednesday that 17 Americans remain unaccounted for, among some 150 people who’ve been taken hostage by Hamas since Saturday.

Biden told those assembled that in some ways, the terrorist group Hamas “exceeds the travesties of ISIS.”

Becoming quietly emotion toward the end of his speech, he remarked, “It matters that American see what’s happening. I’ve been doing this a long time. I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.”

The President noted that he’d spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a number of times since the conflict began, stating that he has a “very frank relationship” with “Bibi” that goes back 40 years.

With that in mind, Biden said he had communicated to Netanyahu that “it’s very important that Israeli, [amid] all the anger and frustration, they operate by the rules of war.”

It was likely Biden was referring to Netanyahu’s declaration of a “complete seige” of Gaza, cutting off electricity, food, fuel and water in the territory, which has drawn criticism from such human rights organizations as the Red Cross and the United Nations.

“And I believe Israel is doing everything in its power to pull the country together, stay on the same page,” said Biden. “And we’re going to do everything in our power so Israel succeeds—and God willing, we bring home the Americans that are in harm’s way.”

PHOTO: Biden’s address to Jewish community leaders in Washington

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