“As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace,” the president wrote in a Saturday op-ed for the Washington Post. “An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.”
He explained his position. To members of Hamas, the president wrote, a ceasefire allows them “to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again.” He emphasised, “An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.”
“If Hamas cared at all for Palestinian lives, it would release all the hostages, give up arms, and surrender the leaders and those responsible” for the 7 October attacks, Mr Biden wrote.
While reiterating his position that he believes Israel has the right to defend itself after the deadly attacks, President Biden also criticised Israel’s actions.
“My administration has called for respecting international humanitarian law, minimizing the loss of innocent lives and prioritizing the protection of civilians,” Mr Biden said, before outlining Israel’s decision to cut down aid to Gaza and limit its access to food, water and medicine. He also mentioned his advocacy for the humanitarian pauses.
Still, he wrote, Israel’s tactics come in “stark opposition to Hamas’s terrorist strategy,” which includes hiding among Palestinian civilians and maximising the death and suffering of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
Mr Biden announced a firm mission. “Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today — it should be to end the war forever,” he wrote. A two-state solution “is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people,” the president continued.
To accomplish this, it would require “commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners,” he wrote. “That work must start now.”
He laid out initial steps to take to achieve this goal.
To start, Mr Biden said, “There must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory.”
The president called for the restructuring of Palestine: “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority.”
On top of this, President Biden said he has been “emphatic” with Israeli leaders that it must “stop” any “extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.” The US is “prepared” to issue visa bans “against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank,” he threatened.
The president also called for the international community to commit to supporting “the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, including interim security measures, and establish a reconstruction mechanism to sustainably meet Gaza’s long-term needs.”
Mr Biden linked the actions of Hamas to those of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, vowing to protect democracy from such assaults.
“Both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map,” he wrote. “And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder. America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests — and for the good of the entire world.”
He also called for peace at home during a time of heightened tension in the US: “We must renounce violence and vitriol and see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans.”