- The president came to the aft of Air Force One on the return from Israel
- Biden cited Pentagon analysis; Israel identified Islamic Jihad as the culprit
- He took off for Israel from DC shortly after explosion at Gaza hospital
President Joe Biden came to the back of Air Force One to tell reporters he believed an early US intelligence assessment about a hospital explosion in Gaza – and appeared to mock Hamas for its marksmanship.
Biden, who was sporting casual clothing after his seven our visit to Israel, was asked about Muslim and Arab people in the region who don’t necessarily believe Israel and the U.S., who said it was likely an errant missile from Islamic Jihad that took out the hospital and resulted in mass casualties.
‘I can understand that,’ Biden said, hours after saying on the ground in Tel Aviv it appeared ‘the other team’ was responsible.
‘You would notice I don’t say things like that unless I have faith in the source which I’ve gotten,’ he said.
President Joe Biden said the missile that appeared to explode at a Gaza hospital had a ‘different footprint’ than a projectile that might have come from Israel. He cited his belief in Pentagon intelligence analysis
‘Our defense department says it was highly unlikely’ that it came from Israel.
He said it had a ‘different footprint,’ he said, before stopping short of providing more detail.
‘You notice I didn’t say it at first,’ he said, referencing his delay of hours before commenting. ‘I wanted to make sure that I knew.’
‘I’m not suggesting that Hamas deliberately did it either. It’s that whole thing – got to know how to shoot straight,’ he said, after Israel identified another Palestinian faction, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as responsible.
‘It’s not the first time that Hamas has launched something that didn’t function,’ he said.
Biden came to the aft of Air Force One to speak to reporters while returning from Israel. Security spokesman John Kirby can be seen to his left
Biden took long pauses and occasionally cut off his own train of thought during his comments.
But after accepting Israel’s version of events, Biden dodged a question when asked directly whether Israel was following the rules of war. Biden said immediately after the brutal Oct. Hamas attack inside Israel that he discussed with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that democracies like the US and Israel follow the rules of war and don’t target civilians.
‘Good talking to y’all,’ Biden said, turning around and walking away after a reporter asked the question.
The administration has faced questions about Israel’s decision to cut water and energy from Gaza as it prepares for a potential ground invasion of Gaza.
Within days, the Biden administration is expected to ask Congress for billions in additional aid to Israel. The military has dispatched two aircraft carrier groups, while deploying an addition 2,000 military personnel to the region and sending an air armada. Biden has warned other players against taking any actions to expand the conflict.
Biden dismissed some reporters’ questions, took long pauses during some of his answers, and let abruptly cut himself during some of his own responses.
‘What do you think?’ he asked a reporter to wanted to know if he thought it was necessary to come to Israel for in-person diplomacy.
‘I ache for him,’ he said when asked about Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) failed efforts to be elected speaker.
He started off talking about his in-person visit, on a trip where he had to scrub a trip to Jordan after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pulled out after the hospital explosion.
‘People are looking for just something to grab, something that gives them just some sense of hope,’ Biden said.