According to the White House, President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone on the morning of Oct. 29. The leaders discussed developments in Gaza.
The President reassured PM Netanyahu that Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism. However, he highlighted the need to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians.
The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages, including American citizens who remain unaccounted for and may be held by Hamas. President Biden also emphasized the need to immediately and significantly increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to remain in regular consultation both directly and through their respective national security teams.
On the same day, President Biden also spoke with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to express his appreciation for Egypt’s leading role in efforts to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza. The White House report says that the two leaders are committed to the significant acceleration and increase of assistance flowing into Gaza beginning right away and then continuously. The White House also said that they discussed the importance of protecting civilian lives and respect for international humanitarian laws.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan welcomed Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud and his accompanying delegation to the White House on Monday, October 30th, 2023. The White said that Mr. Sullivan discussed ongoing efforts to strengthen the defense partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, which for decades has served as a cornerstone for regional stability and deterrence. He confirmed President Biden’s commitment to support the defense of U.S. partners against threats from state and non-state actors.
The delegations also spoke about the current crisis in Palestine.Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman affirmed the urgent need to increase humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza. Both country’s delegations further emphasized the importance of working towards a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, building on the work that was already underway between Saudi Arabia and the United States over recent months. They affirmed the importance of deterring any state or non-state actor from seeking to expand the conflict.
However, many experts working around the clock to get help into Gaza and find resolutions to the destruction caused by the ceasefire being denied are not satisfied with these meetings and conclusions that the world leaders seem to be presenting.
In response to President Biden’s comments about giving Israel full support while asking them to uphold humanitarian laws, Yousef Munayyer, the head of the Palestine-Israel Program at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Washington D.C. told the BBC, “I think it is quite disingenuous, it is plain to anybody who has eyes and can see what’shappening in Gaza is nowhere near in line with international law.”
He went on to say that the divide on this issue is not between wrong or right or good and evil, the divide is between the governments and the public. While governments support Israel unconditionally, the people are on the streets marching for a ceasefire for Palestine.
When asked by the BBC host that Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and killed 1400 of its citizens, countries lined up to support Israel in the ability to defend itself, that is what they are doing, Munayyer responded, “There are 130 children in incubators today in Gaza that were not alive on Oct. 7.
They are going to die because of the policies that were announced by the Israeli government. This is a war crime and it’s unjustifiable. History did not start on Oct. 7, this is precisely why laws of war exist, and they are being utterly discarded by the leaders of the free world.”