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

President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he believes Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, must be completely eliminated and that a Palestinian state must be created.

“There must be a Palestinian Authority. There has to be a path to a Palestinian state,” Biden said in an interview taped Thursday for CBS.60 minutes“, which aired on Sunday afternoon.

Historically, the US has been one of Israel’s biggest allies, although it has also supported a two-state solution, which would create a separate Palestinian state alongside Israel. For decades, the two parties have struggled to coexist due, in part, to an overlapping claim to the holy city of Jerusalem, which both Palestinians and Israelis see as their capital. US 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 must be neutralized, the group does not “represent all of the Palestinian people. It would be a mistake for Israel to reoccupy Gaza.”

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

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

The comments by White House officials come more than a week after long-standing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories peaked when Hamas carried out a deadly attack that killed more than 1,400 in Israel. Israel’s counteroffensive 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 focus of a humanitarian crisis. Many civilians, including American citizens, are stranded without access to food, water, medical services and shelter.

Immediately after the October 7 attack by Hamas, the US expressed support for Israel’s actions to defend itself and has since mobilized resources and humanitarian aid.

Still in Sunday’s interview, Biden said he did not believe it was necessary to send US military troops to bolster Israel’s counterattack.

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