Biden Says It Would Be ‘Big Mistake’ For Israel To Occupy Gaza, Hamas Doesn’t Represent Palestinians

[Photo Credit: CBS News | 60 Minutes]

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden said it would be a “big mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza while retaliating against Hamas’ terrorist attack on the country, during a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday.

“Would you support Israeli occupation of Gaza at this point?” host Scott Pelley asked.

“I think it would be a big mistake,” Biden responded. “Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all of the Palestinian people, and I think that it would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza again. But to go in and taking out the extremists — the Hezbollah is up north, but Hamas down south is a necessary requirement.”

Following Hamas’ unexpected strike, Israel declared war and its Israel Defense Force (IDF) launched an airstrike into the Gaza strip while preparing to invade the region with troops and tanks. More than 1,300 Israelis were brutally killed in Hamas’ attack and at least 120 were taken into hostage, according to reports. (RELATED: For 3rd Time In As Many Years, Americans Are Stranded In A War Zone Under Biden’s Watch)

At least 30 American citizens have been killed following Hamas’ attack and 13 remain unaccounted for as of Sunday, according to the Washington Post. Biden confirmed Tuesday that Americans were being held hostage in Hamas, though it is unclear how many.

Biden previously recommended that Americans stranded in Israel book a commercial flight out, though just hours before major airlines began to cancel their service in and out of the country. Several days later, the White House decided to begin chartering flights out of Israel to help evacuate Americans.

“Do you believe that Hamas must be eliminated entirely?” Pelley asked Biden. 

“Yes, I do, but there needs to be a Palestinian Authority,” Biden responded. “There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state.”