Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a ‘big mistake’: Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has said Hamas must be destroyed but cautioned that the Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a 'big mistake'.

A building lies in ruins in Gaza.Photo Courtesy: UNICEF X page

Speaking to CBS News 60 Minutes, POTUS said: "I think it'd be a big mistake. Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don't represent all the Palestinian people."

"It would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza again," he said.

"But going in but taking out the extremists the Hezbollah is up north but Hamas down south. Is a necessary requirement," he said.

Asked if Hamas must be eliminated, Biden said: "Yes, I do. But there needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state."

When asked whether Israel would pursue a two-state solution, which has been US policy for decades, after Hamas’ attack, Biden said: "Not now. Not now. Not now, but– but I think Israel understands that a significant portion of Palestinian people do not share the views of Hamas and Hezbollah."

Antony Blinken may revisit Israel

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to return to Israel for the second time to meet PM Benjamin Netanyahu and make an attempt to reduce the impact of a potentially catastrophic all-out Israeli land assault on Gaza.

He will return to Jerusalem for a second round of talks in five days with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, ending a whirlwind round of shuttle diplomacy designed to stop the conflict spreading, The Guardian reported.

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday (October 15, 2023) said top Hamas commander Bilal al Qadr has been killed.

According to reports, he was the senior Hamas commander from the Nukhba special forces responsible for the mass infiltration and massacre of Israelis.

Israeli Air Force fighter jets, directed by Shin Bet, targeted and killed al Qadr, the commander of the Nukhba forces' southern Khan Yunis unit, reported The Jerusalem Post.

Qadr was responsible for the encroachments into Nirim and Nir Oz and the subsequent mass murder of Israelis in the Gaza border towns, the newspaper reported.

The conflict initiated by a substantial assault from Hamas on October 7 resulted in 1,300 casualties, subsequently triggering a retaliatory bombing operation that has claimed the lives of at least 2,215 individuals in the Gaza Strip.