Biden calls Israel's Gaza campaign 'over the top', urges it to stop

Biden calls Israel's Gaza campaign 'over the top', urges it to stop
US President Joe Biden has said Israel's war on the Gaza Strip was excessive, warning of further civilian casualties in the besieged enclave.
2 min read
09 February, 2024
Biden slammed Israel for its excessive military actions in the Gaza Strip [Getty]

Israel's military response in the Gaza Strip to the October 7 attacks by Hamas has been "over the top" and has "got to stop," US President Joe Biden said Thursday.

"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," the Democrat told reporters at the White House.

"There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying, and it's got to stop."

American support for Israel's war on the Palestinian group has sparked a flurry of attacks on US troops in the region, as well as criticism of the Biden administration at home and abroad.

Months of Israeli bombardment and siege have deepened a humanitarian crisis across Gaza.

But Biden, 81, said he had pushed to get humanitarian assistance into the territory.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi initially "did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in", Biden said.

In another slip up, Biden referred to Sisi as the president of Mexico instead of Egypt.

"I talked to him, I convinced him to open the gate. I talked to Bibi to open the gate on the Israeli side," he continued, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I've been pushing really hard, really hard, to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza."

Hamas' surprise attack on Israel on October 7 resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

But Israel's response has been vicious. As it vows to eliminate Hamas, its unprecedented air and ground offensive has killed close to 28,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Hamas also seized around 250 hostages. Israel says 132 remain in Gaza, of whom 29 are believed to have died, some in Israeli strikes.

The war has sparked a surge in violence across the region by Iran-backed groups operating in solidarity with Hamas, drawing retaliatory attacks from Israel, the United States and its allies.