Biden says Hamas must be eliminated entirely, but ‘there must be a path to a Palestinian state’

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President Joe Biden said in an interview aired on Sunday that he believes Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, must be fully eliminated and that it is necessary to establish a Palestinian state.

“There needs to be a Palestinian Authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state,” Biden said in an interview filmed Thursday for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which aired Sunday evening.

Historically, the U.S. has been one of Israel’s biggest allies, though it has also endorsed a two-state solution, which would a separate Palestinian state next to Israel. For decades, the two parties have struggled to coexist due, in part, to an overlapping claim over the holy city of Jerusalem, which both Palestinians and Israelis see as their capital. U.S. presidents have tried to negotiate a two-state solution in the Middle East with varying degrees of success.

In the interview, Biden said that while Hamas needs to be neutralized, the group does not “represent all the Palestinian people. It would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza again.”

Earlier Sunday, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan similarly called for the protection of innocent civilians.

“The many, many Palestinians who have had nothing to do with the brutal terrorist organization among us the vast majority of the population of Gaza. They deserve dignity. They deserve safety and security,” he said in an interview Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The White House officials’ comments come over a week after long-standing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories came to a head when Hamas executed a deadly attack that killed over 1,400 in Israel. Israel’s counterattack has killed at least 2,600 in Gaza, many of whom local authorities said were civilians.

Gaza, which has been under Hamas control since 2007, has now become the center of a humanitarian crisis. Many civilians, including American citizens, are stranded without access to food, water, medical service and shelter.

Immediately following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, the U.S. expressed its support of Israel’s actions to defend itself and has since rallied resources and humanitarian aid.

Still in Sunday’s interview, Biden said he does not think it is necessary to send in U.S. military troops to bolster Israel’s counteroffensive.

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