Biden mocks Hamas and says ‘they gotta learn to shoot straight’ – but avoids directly


President Joe Biden on Wednesday made a clumsy joke about intelligence assessments that a Palestinian missile misfired and hit a Gaza hospital, saying that the terrorists have ‘got to know how to shoot straight’.

Israel immediately swore that they were not behind the explosion at the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City, and U.S. analysts have come to the same conclusion. Hamas insists that the Israelis are responsible for the strike on the hospital, but the U.S. and Israel believe it was caused by a rocket fired by Hamas ally Islamic Jihad towards Israel, which misfired.

Biden, who spent seven and a half hours in Israel on Wednesday, called Egypt‘s president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, from Air Force One on the way home from Israel, in order to discuss efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

He also took the unusual step of coming to the back of his plane to discuss the situation with reporters, and responsibility for the hospital attack. 

‘I’m not suggesting that Hamas deliberately did it either,’ said Biden. Hamas is not thought to be behind the strike, but rather their ally, Islamic Jihad.

‘It’s that whole thing – got to know how to shoot straight.’

He added that Hamas is well known for its misfiring of rockets. 

President Joe Biden said the missile that appeared to explode at a Gaza hospital had a 'different footprint' than a projectile that might have come from Israel. He cited his belief in Pentagon intelligence analysis

President Joe Biden said the missile that appeared to explode at a Gaza hospital had a ‘different footprint’ than a projectile that might have come from Israel. He cited his belief in Pentagon intelligence analysis

Asked about skepticism of Israel’s claim that Palestinians were behind the hospital attack, Biden replied: ‘I can understand that. You would notice I don’t say things like that unless I have faith in the source which I’ve gotten.

‘Our defense department says it was highly unlikely’ that it came from Israel, he added. 

Biden said it had a ‘different footprint,’ to other missiles – before stopping short of providing more detail.

‘You notice I didn’t say it at first,’ he said, referencing his delay of hours before commenting. 

‘I wanted to make sure that I knew.

‘I’m not suggesting that Hamas deliberately did it either. 

‘It’s that whole thing – got to know how to shoot straight.

‘It’s not the first time that Hamas has launched something that didn’t function,’ he said.  

Biden came to the aft of Air Force One to speak to reporters while returning from Israel. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby can be seen to his left

Biden came to the aft of Air Force One to speak to reporters while returning from Israel. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby can be seen to his left

Biden took long pauses and occasionally cut off his own train of thought during his comments

Biden took long pauses and occasionally cut off his own train of thought during his comments 

People inspect the area of Al-Ahli hospital where hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other

People inspect the area of Al-Ahli hospital where hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other

Biden said he put stock in analysis that an errant missile from Gaza was likely to blame

Biden said he put stock in analysis that an errant missile from Gaza was likely to blame

The destruction drew fury in the Arab street. Biden said he could 'understand' outrage but said Wednesday he thought the 'other team' was responsible

The destruction drew fury in the Arab street. Biden said he could ‘understand’ outrage but said Wednesday he thought the ‘other team’ was responsible

But after accepting Israel’s version of events, Biden dodged a question when asked directly whether Israel was following the rules of war. 

Biden said that, immediately after the brutal October 7 Hamas attack inside Israel, he discussed with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that democracies like the US and Israel follow the rules of war, and don’t target civilians.

‘Good talking to y’all,’ Biden said, turning around and walking away after a reporter asked the question.

The administration has faced questions about Israel’s decision to cut water and energy from Gaza as it prepares for a potential ground invasion of the enclave.

Within days, the Biden administration is expected to ask Congress for billions in additional aid to Israel. 

The military has dispatched two aircraft carrier groups, while deploying an addition 2,000 military personnel to the region and sending an air armada. Biden has warned other players against taking any actions to expand the conflict. 

Biden dismissed some reporters’ questions, took long pauses during some of his answers, and let abruptly cut himself during some of his own responses.

‘What do you think?’ he asked a reporter, who wanted to know if he thought it was necessary to come to Israel for in-person diplomacy. 

When asked about Republican congressman Jim Jordan’s failed efforts to be elected speaker, Biden replied sarcastically: ‘I ache for him.’

Biden had started off talking about his trip to Israel, and how he had to abandon a stop in Jordan after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pulled out of talks following the hospital explosion. 

‘People are looking for just something to grab, something that gives them just some sense of hope,’ Biden said.

Biden also spoke about his phone call with Sisi, the Egyptian president, who had been set to join him in Amman, Jordan before the Gaza explosion. 

He said Sisi agreed to open up the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to allow 20 truckloads full of humanitarian assistance in, and added that Sisi ‘deserves a lot of credit’ for the action.

‘If Hamas confiscates them or doesn’t let it get through … then it’s going to end,’ Biden vowed. 

‘He was completely cooperative,’ Biden said, adding he ‘stepped up – as did Bibi.’

Biden added: ‘Israel has been badly victimized but the truth is they have an opportunity to relieve suffering of people who have nowhere to go – it’s what they should do.’

His administration has been taking questions for days about how to provide humanitarian corridors for Palestinian residents of Gaza to flee amid an Israeli evacuation order. 

‘We’re going to get people out,’ he said, having discussed the issue with Netanyahu on his trip, as well as getting in humanitarian relief. 

‘I was very blunt about the need to get humanitarian aid to Gaza.’



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