Amid criticism over his handling of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, US President Joe Biden said his position on the Middle East crisis has not 'shifted' and that there won't be lasting peace in the region until everyone agrees to the Jewish state's right to exist.
"My party still supports Israel. Let's get something straight: until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace," Biden said during a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Friday.
Supports 'Two-State Solution'
The President reiterated that Washington's stance in Israel has not changed. He also said his Democratic party's commitment to the security of the State of Israel and support for a "two-state solution" is still in place.
"There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. No shift. Period. What we still need is a two-state solution. It is the only answer ... " he old reporters.
"I made it clear when I spoke with [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas: We're going to make sure we are going to provide for security in the West Bank. We renewed the security commitment, as well as [the] economic commitment to the people in the West Bank," he added, according to the Associated Press.
Aid Convoys Arrive in Gaza
Meanwhile, in other reports, Palestinians started getting humanitarian aid hours after the ceasefire with Israel came into force.
The first convoys of humanitarian aid arrived in Gaza, even as thousands of Palestinians returned home to their devastated neighborhoods. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working on creating a corridor evacuating the people injured in relentless Israeli air strikes.
As per the latest count, more than 250 people were killed during the the 11-day conflict, which started when the Hamas militants launched rockets into Israel after Palestinian protest against evictions at Sheikh Jarrah turned violent and the Israeli police engaged protesters at Al Aqsa mosque.
Gaza authorities say that 1,800 housing units were damaged in the air strikes and that more than 1,000 were totally destroyed. More than 10,000 people living in the enclave controlled by Hamas fled their homes during the conflict. Running water was not available to tens of thousands of homes in the aftermath of the conflict.
"The damage inflicted in less than two weeks will take years, if not decades, to rebuild," Fabrizio Carboni, the Middle East director for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said, according to BBC.
Biden to Replenish Iron Dome Supplies
Endorsing his commitment to Israel's security, Biden said he would replenish Israel's supply of Iron Dome interceptors, which had played a key role in the two-week fighting. While Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, a vast majority of them were intercepted before they hit civilian and residential targets.
"The US is committed to working with the UN... and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts," Biden said.
Biden also said his government will help rebuild the Gaza Strip, which sustained severe damage in the Israeli air strikes.