Israel has been badly victimised, but it should explore the opportunity to relieve the suffering of people in Gaza who have nowhere to go, US President Joe Biden said following his trip to Israel.
"Look, Israel has been badly victimised. But the truth is that if they have an opportunity to relieve the suffering of people who have nowhere to go, it's what they should do. And if they don't, they'll be held accountable in ways that may be unfair," Biden told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way back from Israel on Wednesday.
"And my point to everyone is, look, if you have an opportunity to alleviate the pain, you should do it, period. And if you don't, you're going to lose credibility worldwide. And I think everyone understands that," Biden said after he spent several hours in Israel in the aftermath of the terrorist strike from Hamas.
Israel is likely planning retaliation and a possible ground invasion of Gaza against Hamas for its October 7 attack that killed around 1,400 people in Israel.
The US has asked for massive humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza and is in the process of providing defence military assistance to Israel.
Biden said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi agreed to open up the Rafah gate to allow up to 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. "If Hamas confiscates them or doesn't let it get through then it's going to end," he said. "The bottom line is Sisi deserves a lot of credit," he added.
The White House, in a readout of the phone call between the two leaders, said Biden and Al-Sisi discussed ongoing coordination to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza and mechanisms to ensure the aid is distributed for the benefit of the civilian population.
"The two leaders agreed to work together closely on encouraging an urgent and robust international response to the UN's humanitarian appeal. They agreed on the need to preserve stability in the Middle East, prevent escalation of the conflict, and set the circumstances for a durable, permanent peace in the region," the White House said.
On his way back from Israel, Biden was asked about the odds of Israeli forces launching a ground invasion of Gaza. "We had a long talk about that and what alternatives there are. Our military is talking with their military about what the alternatives are, but I'm not going to go into that, either," the president said.
The US president added that he found Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receptive to the humanitarian aid argument.
"Well, we've had a number of discussions on this. I don't know what you picked up in Israel, but I got no pushback. Virtually none. Let me say it again. I got no pushback. (from) All the partners, virtually none. I'm hopeful we can get some Americans out as well of Gaza and I'm hopeful we can continue to work toward getting other Americans out through other means as well," Biden said.