One day after an explosion outside a Gaza hospital, President Biden reminded reporters that Palestinian militants “have to learn how to shoot straight.”
“I’m not suggesting that Hamas did it on purpose,” the president remarked on his way back to Washington from a visit to Israel earlier in the day.
Biden on the explosion in the hospital parking lot: “I’m not suggesting that Hamas deliberately did it … it’s that old thing, gotta learn how to shoot straight”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 19, 2023
“It’s that old thing: Gotta learn how to shoot straight,” Biden went on.
“It’s not the first time that Hamas has launched something that didn’t function very well.”
The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip claimed Tuesday that an Israeli airstrike killed about 500 people at the hospital, sparking riots across the Middle East and forcing Biden to cancel a planned summit with Arab leaders in Amman, Jordan, but the White House said Wednesday that the explosion was caused by a Palestinian misfire.
The Israeli government blamed the Hamas-allied group Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Tuesday night, disclosing intercepted phone calls and other evidence to back up its claim.
“I don’t know all the detail, but I do know the people at the Defense Department who I respect and the intelligence community that I respect, say it is highly improbable that Israel did that,” Biden said on Air Force One.
The president spent many hours in Tel Aviv earlier Wednesday to show his support for Israel against Hamas, who massacred 1,400 people in southern Israel on October 7.
However, the president sparked new Republican criticism by offering $100 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinian territory, including the approximately 2 million residents of Gaza, which Israel is poised to invade.
Biden also said he wanted Congress to authorize “unprecedented” military aid for Israel, while urging Israeli leaders not to be led by “rage” while entering Gaza, stressing that America has made “mistakes” in its own overseas wars since 9/11.