President Joe Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning in the middle of a Middle East falling apart, with the attack by Hamas on Israel and an explosion at a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds. Hamas blamed the explosion on Israel, but evidence indicates that it was likely a result of a failed rocket from Hamas.
The hospital explosion sent people out into the streets against U.S., Israeli, and other embassies on Tuesday night, responding to calls from Hezbollah and others for action. They set fires near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and briefly pulled down an American flag, replacing it with a Palestinian flag.
When Biden arrived in Israel, he embraced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was good.
US President Biden has landed in Israel.— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) October 18, 2023
“I wanted to be here today for a simple reason, so that everyone knows that the USA stands with Israel” 🇮🇱🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/B0UakrkJ88
But then he said a few words during the photo op moment with Netanyahu. Biden talking is always a potential for problems — and it was here. First, he started to tell a story about something that Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote years ago when Biden was in the Senate. Biden gestured to Blinken, who was next to him. Biden said Blinken wrote a line that he, Biden, thinks is “appropriate.” Then he completely forgot what that was and tried to cover it with a fill-in, saying he “wouldn’t go into it,” and he was taking “too much time.” That’s something he does when he completely blanks out.
This is just sad. Biden tries to quote a line Blinken apparently wrote for him years ago when he was in the Senate, but realizes he can't remember it and gives up pic.twitter.com/SacOBiQEvI— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 18, 2023
Then he spoke about the Gaza explosion.
“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at a hospital in Gaza yesterday,’ Biden declared.
“And based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not, not you. But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure. We’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”
Other team? This isn’t a sporting event. That makes it sound like it’s a football game. But also, he’s not putting the name on it in that comment: Hamas. If he thinks it’s from Hamas, call them out on it. The other team sounds like he doesn’t want to say it.
Biden did talk about the attack on Israel, condemning Hamas there, “They committed evil and atrocities that make ISIS look somewhat more rational.”
I suppose we should be grateful he was able to get out any words at all and didn’t confuse Hamas with Israel in his remarks.
Biden is supposed to give additional remarks, and hopefully, he can do it without messing things up too much and throwing things into further chaos. He was supposed to go on to Jordan for a summit including Jordan and Egypt, but that was canceled in the wake of the Gaza hospital explosion.