Biden Visits Israel to Oversee Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians

Op-Ed by Emily Thompson

US President Joe Biden travelled to Israel on Wednesday amid Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. This is the first time a sitting president has visited Israel during a war. The terror group is said to be holding 199 hostages – men, women, and children – including approximately 13 Americans.

Biden on Wednesday pledged his support for Israel during his trip to Tel Aviv and said that while America stood by during the Holocaust, this time, America has Israel’s back.

“The State of Israel was born to be a safe place for the Jewish people in the world,” he said. “Long said, if Israel didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. While it may not feel that way today, Israel must again be a safe place for the Jewish people. I promise you; we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure there will be.”

At the same time, Biden was in Israel to ensure the safe passage of Palestinian civilians and to ensure they are able to receive humanitarian aid.

The president acknowledged that Palestinian people are “suffering greatly” and that he mourns the loss of “innocent Palestinian lives like the entire world.”

“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people,” he said. “Hamas uses innocent families in Gaza as human shields, putting their command centers or weapons or communications tunnels in residential areas.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that the government will allow food, water and medicine to be brought into Gaza through Egypt’s border after Biden made the request for such a safe route in his meeting with Israel’s wartime cabinet in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu’s office added that no humanitarian aid will enter from Israel to Gaza until the hostages in Gaza are returned.

The aid delivered via Egypt will only be allowed to reach southern Gaza, and not northern Gaza or Gaza City, where Israel has ordered Palestinians to evacuate. If any of the aid reaches Hamas, it will be stopped, according to Israel.

Biden also announced $100 million in new U.S. funding for humanitarian in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The money will support over 1 million displaced and conflict-affected people, Biden said in a post on X.

“We will have mechanisms in place so this aid reaches those in need – not Hamas or terrorist groups,” he added.

The White House says the U.S. provides assistance through “trusted partners” including U.N. agencies and international NGOs. The money will go toward clean water, food, hygiene support, medical care and other essential needs, it added.

The Biden administration stressed that civilians are “not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’ horrific terrorism,” and called on assistance to urgently reach those in need.

“We will continue to work closely with partners in the region to stress the importance of upholding the law of war, supporting those who are trying to get to safety or provide assistance, and facilitating access to food, water, medical care, and shelter,” the White House said.

Meanwhile, it appears that Palestinian civilians have a safe place to go and will receive food, water, and medicine under American supervision. It is unclear who will administer the aid and what the logistics will be but at least this is one concern the Biden administration has committed itself to dealing with.

Unfortunately for Palestinian civilians, Egypt and Jordan have rejected the possibility of accepting Palestinian refugees. It is unclear why they refuse to receive their Arab brethren in their time of need, but for now it seems the Palestinians themselves are not demanding it either.

Innocent Palestinian civilians must be taken care of and the Biden administration, as well as the rest of the international community, must ensure they receive the humanitarian aid they deserve.

The world will be watching.

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