President Joe Biden is warning Israel against occupying Gaza as it prepares for a ground offensive following Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack that left thousands of Israelis dead.
"I think it would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza," President Biden said in an interview on "60 Minutes."
The president added that he believes Hamas should be eliminated and is confident that Israel would act under the rules of war.
"There needs to be a Palestinian authority," President Biden stated. "There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state."
The president's comments come as he considers a visit to Israel, according to a senior official who spoke with The Associated Press.
Scripps News asked National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson about the potential trip, and she said there was nothing to announce. However, she did not deny the possibility of President Biden traveling to Israel.
President Biden was scheduled to visit Colorado on Monday to discuss the economy, but the trip was canceled. A White House official said the trip would be rescheduled so the president could participate in national security meetings.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently the leading U.S. figure representing the Biden administration in Israel. He landed in Tel Aviv on Monday, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A spokesperson for Blinken said the secretary underlined his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. determination to provide the Israeli government with what it needs to protect its citizens.
The war has now evolved into the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides of the conflict, with more than 4,000 people now confirmed dead.
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