President Joe Biden privately urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to keep civilian casualties low in the Gaza strip during their war with Hamas terrorists, two Biden administration officials and a former official told NBC News.
Biden spoke with Netanyahu on Tuesday assuring the country leader that the United States would continue to back Israel and send support such as ammunition and Iron Dome interceptors, according to a White House readout of the call. The president has been more direct with the Prime Minister when encouraging him to avoid civilian casualties because the White House will be perceptive to any backlash that comes if Israel is seen using “excessive force” on civilians not involved in the war such as women and children, the officials told NBC News.
While urging Israel to minimize causalities, the Biden administration is working with other countries to plan a way of escape for Gaza citizens who could potentially get caught in the war between Hamas and Israel, two Biden administration officials and a former official told NBC News. The considered plan would move Palestinian civilians and Americans in Gaza through a southern corridor leading into Egypt, NBC News reported.
The president then addressed the nation about the war in his first public appearance since Saturday, adding that Israel has the “right to respond” to the “vicious attacks.” (RELATED: The US Is Moving Hundreds Of Thousands Of Ammo Rounds Out Of Israel To Support Ukraine)
“The Department of Defense has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean and bolstered our fighter aircraft presence,” Biden said Tuesday. “And we stand ready to move in additional assets as needed. Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t.”
“Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear,” the president added.
Since Hamas attacked Israel and brutally murdered Israeli citizens and took others hostage, Biden’s response to the situation has come under fire, especially as 14 Americans are reported dead with at least 20 missing. Prior to Tuesday’s address, the president had not been seen publicly, a move which came under fire as war rages in the Middle East. The White House capped public events before noon on Monday, a move which left Conservative media personalities wondering what the president was doing to ease the crisis in Israel. The president was also criticized Sunday for hosting a barbecue for White House staff and their families despite war breaking out in Israel.