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Biden tells Netanyahu US ‘fully in support’ of Israeli ground invasion of Gaza: Report

US President Joe Biden (R) is welcomed by Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Tel Aviv amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, October 18, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

US President Joe Biden has reportedly told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington is “fully in support” of Tel Aviv’s plans to launch a ground invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Biden visited Tel Aviv on Wednesday amid an intensified Israeli campaign of airstrikes on Gaza, the most densely-populated strip of land in the world, which has killed at least 3,500 Palestinians and injured over 13,000.

“In our meeting today we agreed on a set of actions and steps that make sure we can continue the war,” Netanyahu said in a statement Wednesday after meeting Biden.

“We agreed on cooperation that will change the equation on all the fronts and will help us achieve our goals in the war,” he added.

The Times of London reported that Biden offered Netanyahu his “private backing” to press ahead with a plan to send troops for a ground invasion of Gaza, according to accounts of their private meeting.

The US president promised to ask Congress for an “unprecedented” military aid package for Israel to assist its ongoing war on Gaza.

Reports indicated that Biden was considering a supplemental request of about $10 billion for Israel. He is expected to deliver an address from the Oval Office on Thursday evening to make the case for new funding for aid to the Israeli regime as well as Ukraine.

During his meeting with Netanyahu and in subsequent discussions with members of Israel's war cabinet, Biden expressed concern about the intensifying tensions between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah resistance movement.

The war in Gaza has raised fears that the conflict could spill over into Lebanon and turn into a broader war with Hezbollah, engulfing the whole region. 

“Biden was particularly concerned that Iran-backed Hezbollah would decide to join the war, increasing the odds of a broader conflict in the Middle East,” Axios reported.

While offering US support, Biden told the Israeli war cabinet that he understood the war in Gaza against Hamas would take time. Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet and former minister of military affairs, responded by saying that the incursion into Gaza “could take years.”

Israeli and US officials told Axios that Biden did not object, but said Israel would need to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to “maintain international support.”

Shortages of food, water and medicine due to a complete siege threaten lives of people in Gaza while hospitals are overwhelmed amid incessant Israeli bombings.

The US president’s trip to the occupied territories was overshadowed by a horrifying Israeli airstrike on a hospital in central Gaza that left at least 500 Palestinians dead, mostly women and children.

Israeli authorities have blamed the attack, which has sparked an uproar of condemnations and protests across the region and beyond, on a misfiring Palestinian rocket.

Biden was quick to echo the Israeli narrative, declaring - in a poor choice of words - that “the other team” was responsible for the strike. The White House and the Pentagon offered the same assessment, without providing any evidence.

While Biden was still in Tel Aviv, more American warships and forces were heading toward the region, and about 2,000 troops in the United States were preparing to deploy, if called on, to assist Israeli forces.

Currently, one US aircraft carrier and its accompanying strike group are already positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A second aircraft carrier strike group has been dispatched from the US and is en route to the region. Three Marine warships are also on the move and scores of aircraft have been deployed to US military bases around the Middle East.


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