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Biden White House, Trump respond to Hamas attacking Israel – Obama, Bush silent

President Donald J. Trump at the White House on Nov. 13, 2020. (Tia Dufour/White House) | Joe Biden at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Feb. 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
May 11, 2021

On Tuesday, both President Joe Biden’s White House and former President Donald Trump and released statements addressing the wave of rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israel. As of Tuesday, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had not responded to the rocket attacks.

The Biden White House and Trump statements released after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Hamas and other Islamist groups fired around 470 rockets at Israel over the past day. While Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted numerous incoming rockets, some have still managed to impact and 2 Israeli civilians have been killed.

In a Tuesday press briefing, Biden’s White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president has been briefed daily on developments in Jerusalem and Gaza. He just received another update before I came out here from the national security adviser. Since last week, he has directed his team to engage intensively with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as leaders throughout the middle east.”

Psaki said Biden’s team “is communicating a clear and consistent message in support of de-escalation and that is our primary focus. The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental will never waver.

“We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups including against Jerusalem,” Psaki continued. “We also stand against extremism that has inflicted violence on both communities. Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith around the world, must be a place of coexistence. It is up to the officials, residents, and leaders to restore the city to a place of calm. The president and his team will continue to pursue the conditions for diplomacy, dialogue and de-escalation, and protection of civilians, even as we work together with our friends to deter acts of violence and terrorism.”

Psaki also reiterated the Biden administration’s support for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding, “that is the only way to ensure the just and lasting peace that two peoples have struggled to achieve.”

Psaki said U.S. officials have spoken “candidly” with their Israeli counterparts “about how evictions of Palestinian families who have lived for years, sometimes decades, in their homes, and the demolitions of these homes work against our common interests in achieving a solution to the conflict.”

While voicing his support for Israel, Trump’s statement also criticized Biden’s handling of foreign policy since taking office.

“When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked,” Trump said in a statement posted to his new social media website. “Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.”

Trump went on to say, “America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself. Unbelievably, Democrats also continue to stand by crazed anti-American Rep. Ilhan Omar, and others, who savagely attack Israel while they are under terrorist assault.”

In the past day, Israel has conducted around 300 strikes of its own against Hamas and other Islamist group targets. The IDF announced one strike killed a Hamas anti-tank missile unit commander. Shortly after that strike, Hamas launched new waves of rocket attacks.