After weeks of negotiations, President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that some Americans trapped inside Gaza have left, and more will be allowed to exit in the coming days. This development offers hope to the hundreds of U.S. citizens who have been enduring difficult conditions amid a worsening humanitarian crisis and the significant risk of strikes in the enclave.
In a post on X, President Biden wrote, “Today, thanks to American leadership, we secured safe passage for wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals to exit Gaza. We expect American citizens to exit today, and we expect to see more depart over the coming days. We won’t let up working to get Americans out of Gaza.”
President Joe Biden made a visit to a family-operated farm in Minnesota on Wednesday and concurrently hosted a fundraising event with the state’s prominent Democrats. During the visit, he emphasized his administration’s commitments to rural America, showcasing his political influence in the state and confronting his 2024 primary rival, Rep. Dean Phillips, on his home turf.
Top takeaways from President Biden’s Minnesota speech
- During his remarks in Minnesota later that day, President Biden highlighted the progress made, saying, “Thanks to concerted American leadership, we’re in a situation where safe passage for wounded Palestinians and foreign nationals to exit Gaza has started. American citizens were able to exit today as part of the first group of probably over 1,000. We’ll see more of this process going on in the coming days. We’re working nonstop to get Americans out of Gaza as soon and safely as possible.”
The effort to facilitate these departures involved extensive diplomacy, with President Biden personally engaging with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Sisi. The initial exodus saw 335 foreign passport holders, including U.S. citizens, leaving through the Rafah gate, Gaza’s only border crossing with Egypt.
2. President Joe Biden expressed his belief in the necessity of a humanitarian “pause” in the Israel-Hamas conflict after a protester interrupted his campaign speech, demanding a cease-fire.
This marks a subtle shift for Biden and his administration, which had consistently maintained that they wouldn’t dictate Israeli military operations in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Pressure from various quarters, including human rights organizations, world leaders, and some Democrats, has been mounting, with calls for a cease-fire due to concerns of collective punishment in Gaza.
3. During his speech, Biden applied pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to grant Palestinians a temporary respite from the relentless military operations that have caused significant loss of life and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the 141-square-mile Gaza Strip.
Although the White House refrained from explicitly calling for a cease-fire, they suggested that Israel should consider humanitarian pauses for aid delivery and the safe departure of foreign nationals trapped in Gaza.
4. During his speech, a demonstrator disrupted the event by urging the President to call for a cease-fire, leading Biden to express his understanding of the emotions involved and the complexities of the situation.
5. Biden emphasized his support for a two-state solution and noted that Hamas is considered a terrorist organization. Biden also mentioned his efforts in humanitarian aid and facilitating the entry of aid into Gaza.
While the Biden administration has described these developments as a “breakthrough,” they acknowledge that the situation remains fluid and can change. U.S. officials have not disclosed specific numbers for security reasons but have encouraged any American citizen in Gaza who wishes to leave to register with the State Department promptly.
Details about the agreement facilitating the departures of foreign nationals and some injured Palestinians through the Rafah crossing have not been fully disclosed. The situation is ongoing, and efforts are being made to keep families together during this process.