Biden doubles down on condemning Israel with an executive order despite backlash

President Joe Biden forcefully rebuked Israel on live TV late Thursday, describing its war against Hamas as “over the top.”

He made the remarks while taking questions after the conclusion of a catastrophically bad press briefing concerning special counsel Robert K. Hur’s report on his classified documents scandal.

“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza – in the Gaza Strip – has been over the top,” he said.

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He continued by describing his efforts to push humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“I think that, as you know, initially, the president of [Egypt], [Abdel Fattah el-] Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him, I convinced him to open the gate,” he said.

“I talked to Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] to open the gate on the Israeli side. I’ve been pushing really hard, really hard to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” he added before turning back to criticizing Israel.

“There are a lot of innocent people starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble, dying, and it’s got to stop,” he claimed, suggesting Israel needs to stop its war against the terrorists who butchered 1,300+ Israeli Jews last October.

He concluded by suggesting he’s been the driving force behind all the efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“I’ve been on the phone with the Qataris, I’ve been on the phone with the Egyptians, I’ve been on the phone with the Saudis to get as much aid as we possibly can into Gaza,” he said. “There are innocent people, innocent women and children who are badly in need of help.”

His criticism of Israel sparked backlash.

“His framing of Israel’s response to Hamas as ‘over-the-top’ was particularly despicable,” one user of the social media platform X wrote.

See more responses below:

Yet in the wake of this backlash, the president has reportedly only doubled down.

CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reported early Friday morning that the president has signed a new executive order “to now require countries receiving weapons to give assurance that they’ll use them consistent with law of armed conflict & facilitate aid to civilians in war zones.”

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While these aren’t unjust stipulations and critics say Israel is already abiding by them, many nevertheless worry that the order will somehow be used to prevent Israel from being able to fully and thoroughly wipe out Hamas.

All this comes days after Biden sparked massive outrage by issuing a separate executive order sanctioning Israeli settlers who have allegedly committed acts of violence against civilians in the West Bank.

In response, Israeli officials accused the president of perpetuating anti-Semitism.

“The ‘settler violence’ campaign is an antisemitic lie that enemies of Israel disseminate to smear the pioneering settlers and settlement enterprise, and to harm them and thus smear the entire State of Israel,” Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said.

Vivek Saxena

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