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Biden Commencement Address at Morehouse College

(May 19, 2024)

Excerpt relating to Israel and the Middle East.

What’s happening in Gaza and Israel is heartbreaking. Hamas’s vicious attack on Israel, killing innocent lives and holding people hostage. I was there nine days after, s- — pictures of tying a mother and a daughter with a rope, pouring kerosene on them, burning them and watching as they died. Innocent Palestinians caught in the middle of all this: men, women, and children killed or displaced in despite — in desperate need of water, food, and medicine. It’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

That’s why I’ve called for an immediate ceasefire — an immediate ceasefire to stop the fighting — (applause) — bring the hostages home. And I’ve been working on a deal as we speak, working around the clock to lead an international effort to get more aid into Gaza, rebuild Gaza.

I’m also working around the clock for more than just one ceasefire. I’m working to bring the region together. I’m working to build a lasting, durable peace. Because the question is, as you see what’s going on in Israel today: What after? What after Hamas? What happens then? What happens in Gaza? What rights do the Palestinian people have? I’m working to make sure we finally get a two-state solution — the only solution — (applause) — for two people to live in peace, security, and dignity.

This is one of the hardest, most complicated problems in the world. And there’s nothing easy about it. I know it angered and frustrates many of you, including my family. But most of all, I know it breaks your heart. It breaks mine as well.

Leadership is about fighting through the most intractable problems. It’s about challenging anger, frustration, and heartbreak to find a solution. It’s about doing what you believe is right, even when it’s hard and lonely.

Source: “Remarks by President Biden at the Morehouse College Class of 2024 Commencement Address, Atlanta, GA,” The White House, (May 19, 2024).