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In a recent press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, President Biden expressed skepticism regarding the official death toll from Gaza, as reported by a Hamas-run organization.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry has claimed that over 6,000 Palestinians have died since the Israeli counterstrikes began on October 7 in response to terrorist attacks initiated by Hamas. Responding to these figures, Biden stated, “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war. I think… the Israelis should be incredibly careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel. And it’s against their interest when that doesn’t happen. But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
His remarks follow a sentiment echoed by White House spokesperson on national security issues, John Kirby, and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, both suggesting skepticism toward data from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. However, Biden’s comments have stirred controversy among various groups.
Nihad Awad, the executive director of CAIR, expressed anger at the President’s statements, emphasizing the high number of Palestinian casualties. Waleed Shahid, formerly associated with the progressive Justice Democrats, hinted that such remarks might be utilized in future political campaigns against the President.
Despite the criticism, President Biden firmly supports Israel and its right to defend against Hamas’ terrorist actions. However, the administration has been vocally emphasizing the protection of civilians and the importance of minimizing harm to innocent lives, especially considering the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.