- The government of President Gabriel Boric recognizes Palestine as a state
- It was all smiles Thursday when he met President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
- Minutes later, he said Israel was violating international humanitarian law in Gaza
After sharing a hearty laugh with Joe Biden in the Oval Office, the Chilean president left the White House on Thursday afternoon and condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza as war crimes.
President Gabriel Boric, who this week recalled his ambassador to Israel over the conflict, used the platform of a visit to the White House to tell the world’s media that his country condemned abuses by both sides.
“The number of civilian casualties continues to rise by the day, and with more than 8,000 deaths since the start of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, we can undoubtedly say that the response has been disproportionate,” he said.
“International humanitarian law is being violated, and what is happening in the Gaza Strip is unacceptable.”
He made his comments outside the entrance to the West Wing, where Biden and officials have been scrambling to support the Israeli bombardment and siege of Gaza.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric used the platform of a visit to the White House to tell the world’s media that Israel had violated international humanitarian law with its attacks on Gaza
Minutes earlier, Boric had laughed with his host, President Joe Biden, as they compared their ages and how they were both chosen
While a growing number of world leaders have turned against the massive military offensive, Biden has made clear he stands with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in its response to a terrorist attack that killed 1,400 people.
A few minutes earlier, Boric and Biden seemed like the best of friends. They joked quietly about each other’s ages and waxed lyrical about their country’s commitment to democracy.
“The only problem I have with you is you’re too young,” Biden told Boric, who is 37 years old.
“That’s no problem,” Boric replied, as they compared notes about starting their pageant careers at a young age.
But there was a sign of tension afoot. When a reporter asked whether Boric planned to express his concerns about Israel and Gaza, the left-wing leader (who wears a beard and tattoos, but no tie) nodded.
And a day earlier, Chile recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations on the unfolding crisis in Gaza.
So White House officials would have known that their guest took a very different position than they did.
A Palestinian man holds the dead body of a child in his arms amid the destruction caused by Israeli attacks on the Al Bureij refugee camp, as Israeli attacks continue on the 27th day in Gaza City
An Israeli airstrike on the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City took place on Thursday
After his Oval Office meeting, Boric, who is seen as the vanguard of a new generation of left-wing leaders in South America, stepped onto the north ramp and addressed reporters.
He said he categorically condemned Hamas’ attack on October 7.
But continued: ‘We do not accept being forced to choose between one side or the other. Both these attacks by Hamas, which are unjustifiable and deserve global condemnation, and what Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is doing deserve our strongest condemnation.
“A state’s right to self-defense has limits, and these limits include respecting the lives of innocent civilians, especially children, and international humanitarian law.”