During his Tel Aviv visit on Wednesday, President Biden had been pressed by reporters as to what convinced him to side with Israel’s denial that it didn’t strike Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, killing up to 200-300 people, according to local health officials. Biden had said that data from his Defense Department showed the explosion was unlikely to have been an Israeli airstrike. But it’s not just journalists who want more, US lawmakers are also demanding clearer answers.
A group of Progressive Democrats in Congress are now pushing the Biden White House to publicly declassify the intelligence that the US has on the hospital bombing.
According to Haaretz, “Administration officials provided senators with a classified briefing on Wednesday, shortly after the ranking bipartisan members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees said they reviewed information and reached the same conclusion.”
Thirteen Democrats have brought the two-page resolution which additionally presses Biden to “immediately call for and facilitate de-escalation and a ceasefire to urgently end the current violence” as well as to “promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.” The US voted down a UN Security Council resolution this week which called for a humanitarian ceasefire.
The drive has been sparked in large part by angry Democratic progressives who have been vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause: The calls are only growing louder as tensions within the Democratic Party are brewing over Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s repeated allegation that Israel was responsible — even after U.S. President Joe Biden indicated an Islamic Jihad rocket launch caused the blast.
This immediately unleashed controversy within Democratic circles, with Sen John Fetterman going on the attack: “It’s truly disturbing that Members of Congress rushed to blame Israel for the hospital tragedy in Gaza,” he said in an interview.
“Who would take the word of a group that just massacred innocent Israeli civilians over our key ally?” Fetterman questioned.
Adding to the controversy, some within UK media have sought to debunk the audio and other information released by the Israeli Army which purports to reveal two Hamas members admitting an errant missile from Gaza fell on the hospital…
Who was behind the Gaza hospital blast – a visual investigation. pic.twitter.com/FGQ9kG0Wni— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 19, 2023
According to Channel 4’s Alex Thompson: Several experts confirm Hamas’ view to Channel 4 News that the audio tape of “Hamas” operatives talking about the missile malfunction is a fake. They say the tone, syntax, accent and idiom are absurd.
Meanwhile, on Thursday British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is engaged in his own solidarity visit with Israel. He met with Netanyahu and President Herzog in Jerusalem, telling them he’s “proud to stand with you in Israel’s darkest hour.” The UK says it’s cooperating with Israeli authorities on hostage recovery, and further that Hamas must be called terrorists.