‘I Cannot Prove What I’m About To Say’: Biden Says His Own Diplomacy May Have Triggered Hamas Attack
By REAGAN REESE
President Joe Biden said Friday that his own diplomacy may have pushed the terrorist organization Hamas to launch its brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel which resulted in the raping, kidnapping and murdering of Israeli civilians.
Hamas released its first wave from what is expected to be a total of about 50 hostages Friday, including 13 Israeli civilians as well as 12 Thai nationals, in exchange for a pause in fighting with Israel. Biden gave a brief speech Friday about the release and touted the deal that followed negotiations between U.S., Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials. Following his speech, the president was asked what he was hearing from Arab leaders.
“I cannot prove what I’m about to say, but I believe one of the reasons Hamas struck when they did is because they knew I was working very closely with the Saudis and others in the region to bring peace to the region by having recognition of Israel and Israel’s right to exist,” the president said.
During former President Donald Trump’s administration, deals were struck between Israel and several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa to establish formal diplomatic relations. Those countries included Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Bahrain. Throughout his presidency, Biden had been working to expand the deal to establish formal recognition between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which has long been a friend of the Palestinian cause.
The president said last month he believes Hamas attacked Israel in an effort to stop Biden from striking a deal with Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press reported. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also speculated such motives could have been behind Hamas’ attack.
“You may recall when we did the G20 a little while ago, I was able to get a resolution, a statement passed through there saying we are going to build a railroad from Riyadh all the way through the Middle East into Saudi Arabia, Israel etcetera all the way up to Europe. Not the railroad, it’d be an underground pipeline then railroad,” the president continued Friday.
“The whole idea is there is overwhelming interest and I think most Arab nations know it and coordinating with one another to change the dynamic in their region for longer term peace and that is what I am going to continue to work on,” Biden said.
Israel’s response to the Hamas attack, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, has strained its previously-improving relationships with a number of Muslim-majority countries. The status of a potential agreement for Riyadh to formally recognize Israel is now unclear as the Israeli government continues to work to root out Hamas.