Welcome to this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief… amidst rising tensions as the Israel-Hamas war rages on, President Biden visited Tel Aviv on Wednesday, arriving to tragic news of a deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza. This week, we’ll be looking at 1) Biden’s statements during his trip to the embattled region, 2) what we currently know about the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital, 3) newly released Israeli intelligence on the incident, and 4) growing concerns about potential for further escalation of the conflict.
Quote of the Week
“Hamas committed atrocities that recall the worst ravages of ISIS, unleashing pure unadulterated evil upon the world. There is no rationalizing it, no excusing it. Period.”
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With that all behind us, it’s time to turn our attention back to the ongoing conflict in Israel, and the response from the U.S. and the international community to the Israel-Hamas War.
President Biden Visits Israel
On Wednesday, as President Joe Biden visited Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House announced a deal with Israel that will help bring humanitarian assistance into Gaza from Egypt, along with $100 million in U.S. funds to aid Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, while asserting America’s solidarity with Israel.
“This funding will help support over a million displaced and conflict-affected people with clean water, food, hygiene support, medical care, and other essential needs. The United States provides humanitarian assistance through trusted partners including UN agencies and international NGOs,” a White House statement read.
“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism,” the statement added.
During his visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Biden was resolute in the U.S.’s position in support of Israel.
“I wanted to be here today for one simple reason,” Biden said on Wednesday. “I want the people of Israel—the people of the world—to know where the United States stands.
“The world is looking,” Biden said, appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Israel has a value set like the United States does, and other democracies.”
Explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital
While speaking with reporters in Israel, President Biden also said he was “deeply saddened and outraged” by an explosion that occurred at the Al-Ahli Hospital, which reportedly killed more than 500.
“It appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said to Netanyahu on Wednesday.
“But there’s a lot of people out there not sure,” Biden added. Although Biden did not elaborate on what information he had been provided at that time, U.S. officials have since clarified that multiple sources of information, including satellite data, infrared imagery, and other preliminary information, appears to link the deadly blast to a missile launched by Palestinian fighters within Gaza.
Video analyzed by U.S. intelligence agencies appears to show the rocket or missile coming from a direction that rules out the possibility it was launched by Israel, which has vehemently denied any involvement with the attack.
Israel Weighs In
Following the Gaza hospital explosion, Israel released drone footage and portions of an intercepted phone call between Hamas terrorists obtained through a wiretap which it said proves a rocket or missile misfire had been responsible.
According to Israel Defense Forces, a pair of Hamas operatives were overheard confirming that the rocket had originated from Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian terror group.
“The entire world was rightfully outraged,” Netanyahu said of the incident on Wednesday, “but this outrage should be directed not at Israel but at the terrorists.”
Prior to the hospital explosion, Biden had been planning to visit Jordan to meet with Arab leaders, following similar meetings held by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week. However, the Jordanian summit was cancelled following the explosion at the hospital.
“Hamas does not represent all the Palestinian people,” Biden said while speaking with Netanyahu in Israel on Wednesday, adding that the U.S. designated terrorist group “has brought them only suffering,” and going on to acknowledge the 1400 Israelis who were “slaughtered” during attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023.
Worries Amidst Growing Conflict
“Americans are grieving,” Biden said during Wednesday’s visit. “Americans are worried.”
In recent days, the White House has reportedly left the possibility of U.S. military force on the table, particularly in the event that Hezbollah enters the conflict.
“We will continue to have Israel’s back as you work to defend your people,” Biden said Wednesday, adding that the U.S. will “continue to work with you and partners across the region to prevent more tragedy to innocent civilians.”
During Wednesday’s meeting in Tel Aviv, Biden also emphasized that the U.S. and its support of Israel “means encouraging lifesaving capacity to help the Palestinians who are innocent, caught in the middle of this.”
“That’s who we are,” Biden said. “Not just me, but I mean that’s who the United States is. And it’s just not the example of our power, it’s the power of our example that’s almost as important.”
On today’s episode, we discuss how electron beams weirdly heal fissures in crystals, how AI is being used to fight brain diseases, and how “artificial photosynthesis” may save humanity from a climate dystopian hellscape. You can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or simply download it wherever you get your podcasts. Please make sure to click ‘Subscribe’ and Rate and Review the podcast. Every Tuesday, join hosts MJ Banias and Stephanie Gerk as they roundup the latest science […]