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President Biden State of the Union Address Concerning the Middle East

(March 7, 2024)

The following is the Middle East-related section of President Joe Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address.

I know the last five months have been gut-wrenching for so many people, for the Israeli people, the Palestinian people, and so many here in America. 

This crisis began on October 7th with a massacre by the terrorist group Hamas

1,200 innocent people women and girls men and boys slaughtered, many enduring sexual violence. 

The deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust

250 hostages taken. 

Here in the chamber tonight are American families whose loved ones are still being held by Hamas. 

I pledge to all the families that we will not rest until we bring their loved ones home. 

We will also work around the clock to bring home Evan and Paul, Americans being unjustly detained all around the world. 

Israel has a right to go after Hamas. 

Hamas could end this conflict today by releasing the hostages, laying down arms, and surrendering those responsible for October 7th. 

Israel has an added burden because Hamas hides and operates among the civilian population. But Israel also has a fundamental responsibility to protect innocent civilians in Gaza

This war has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined. 

More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed

Most of whom are not Hamas. 

Thousands and thousands are innocent women and children. 

Girls and boys also orphaned. 

Nearly 2 million more Palestinians under bombardment or displaced. 

Homes destroyed, neighborhoods in rubble, cities in ruin. 

Families without food, water, medicine. 

It’s heartbreaking. 

We’ve been working non-stop to establish an immediate ceasefire that would last for at least six weeks. 

It would get the hostages home, ease the intolerable humanitarian crisis, and build toward something more enduring. 

The United States has been leading international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. 

Tonight, I’m directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters. 

No U.S. boots will be on the ground. 

This temporary pier would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day. 

But Israel must also do its part. 

Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure that humanitarian workers aren’t caught in the cross fire. 

To the leadership of Israel I say this. 

Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. 

Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority. 

As we look to the future, the only real solution is a two-state solution

I say this as a lifelong supporter of Israel and the only American president to visit Israel in wartime. 

There is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and democracy. 

There is no other path that guarantees Palestinians can live with peace and dignity. 

There is no other path that guarantees peace between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.  

Creating stability in the Middle East also means containing the threat posed by Iran.  

That’s why I built a coalition of more than a dozen countries to defend international shipping and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. 

I’ve ordered strikes to degrade Houthi capabilities and defend U.S. Forces in the region. 

As Commander in Chief, I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and military personnel.  

Source: “Remarks of President Joe Biden — State of the Union Address As Prepared for Delivery,” The White House, (March 7, 2024).