President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he had made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a two-state solution was the only answer to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying Hamas committed war crimes by storing weapons in a tunnel under a hospital in Gaza.
“You have a circumstance where the first war crime is committed by Hamas by having their headquarters, their army, under a hospital. And that is a fact. That’s what happened,” Biden said.
He also noted, “I have made it clear to the Israelis – Bibi and his war cabinet – that I think the only ultimate answer here is a two-state solution.”
Biden said that Hamas currently can and continues to maintain weapons and technology under hospitals in Gaza. “I think ultimately it won’t end until there’s a two-state solution.”
He said he has negotiated next steps with Arab countries.
The president made his comments at a solo news conference after his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping
A two-state solution is one in which Israel could coexist with an independent Palestinian state, but such an idea has eluded American presidents and peacemakers for decades.
Biden has taken up calls for this to happen when the Hamas-Israel conflict ends, pushing other Middle Eastern countries to back the idea.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces found a command center and weapons and combat equipment belonging to Palestinian Hamas militants at Gaza’s largest hospital on Wednesday, the Israeli army said.
The IDF raided the Al Shifa hospital complex in Gaza in the early morning hours.
In one hospital ward, “soldiers located a Hamas operational command center and technological assets, indicating that the terrorist organization is using the hospital for terrorist purposes,” an Israeli military statement said.
Biden noted at his press conference that his administration has encouraged the IDF to be cautious.
“This is not a carpet bombing. This is something different,” he said.
‘They also use incubators. They bring other resources into the hospital and give the doctors – so I’m told – and the doctors and nurses the opportunity to leave,” he added.
Biden said he would urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consider a two-state solution
Earlier Wednesday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby refused to cast doubt on the Israeli military after it deployed troops to Gaza’s largest hospital, claiming to have discovered a “terror infrastructure” there.
Kirby again said he would not engage in “armchair quarterbacking” of the Israeli army’s powerful attack on Hamas in Gaza, even as he underlines US concerns about protecting civilians in Gaza, amid estimates that thousands have been killed killed in the Israeli bombardment.
He said there was “no expectation” that Israel would outline its military actions in advance, adding that “we have certainly spoken to them about our ongoing concerns about civilian casualties.”
‘We don’t want hospitals to be attacked from the air. We do not want innocent civilians, patients and medical staff to fall victim to crossfire between Hamas and the Israeli army. We believe that hospitals must be protected,” Kirby said, a day after he said U.S. intelligence indicated that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were using hospitals to hide military operations and hostages.
He said it was “understandable” that the IDF “would want to deprive Hamas of its ability to use such cover to sustain itself” while carrying out orders to eliminate Hamas.
“But again, this means that they have an additional burden here because it is a hospital, because there are real patients and real doctors and real nurses who have nothing to do with this fight and who need to be protected as much as possible.”
He spoke next Israeli forces finally began withdrawing from the besieged hospital, where Israel claims Hamas has an underground base.
“I will refrain from supporting ongoing military operations for any military that is not the United States,” he said. “We have been very consistent and very clear with our Israeli counterparts about the importance of minimizing civilian casualties.
“We’ve also been very clear with them about the special care that needs to be taken when you’re talking about hospitals, because there are patients and even pediatric patients and medical staff, and that hospital is an active, legitimate hospital and serves the legitimate medical needs of the people of Gaza.”
Israeli soldiers walk through the Al Shifa hospital complex amid their ground operation against Hamas in this still image from the distribution video obtained on November 15, 2023
Palestinians injured in Israeli raids arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on November 14, 2023. The White House says Hamas uses tunnels under hospitals for its military
Israeli troops have continued to bombard Gaza for weeks
Israel has long accused Hamas of hiding its forces among civilian targets. Hamas officials have said more than 10,000 people have been killed in Israel’s campaign, although the White House says it cannot verify that number.
An estimated 1,400 people were killed in Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7.