President Biden released a statement on Sunday night after a ceasefire was announced for Gaza following a three-day Israeli bombing campaign, which left at least 45 Palestinians dead, including 16 children.
The bombing campaign started on Friday when Israel targeted a leader of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad in Gaza. The initial strike killed an Islamic Jihad leader, as well as a five-year-old girl, a 23-year-old woman, and seven other Palestinian men.
“My support for Israel’s security is long-standing and unwavering — including its right to defend itself against attacks. Over these recent days, Israel has defended its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Biden said.
Over the three days of bombings, the Islamic Jihad fired rockets into Israel, but no Israelis were killed. Biden said that the US was “proud” of its support for the Iron Dome, one of Israel’s missile defense systems.
“The United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives. I commend Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government’s steady leadership throughout the crisis,” Biden said.
After Israel’s previous massive bombing campaign in Gaza in May 2021, which killed 256 Palestinians, including 67 children, Israel asked the US for an additional $1 billion in military aid, on top of the $3.8 billion the US provides each year. The US obliged, and the extra $1 billion was included in an omnibus spending bill Biden signed into law back in March.
Israel has claimed that some of the dead were killed by misfired rockets that were launched in Gaza over the weekend. The Palestinian Health Ministry denies this claim and says they were all killed by Israeli airstrikes. According to Middle East Eye, Israel hasn’t provided “independently-verified evidence” to back up its assertion.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that Israel achieved its goals in the bombing campaign. He claimed that Israel has made “special efforts” to avoid civilian casualties and said the death of children was “heartbreaking,” but added that Israel “would not apologize for defending its people with force.”