Biden to address nation after Israel trip, says 'I got it done' on aid to Gaza

President Joe Biden will address to the nation Thursday to update Americans on the U.S. response to the Hamas attacks, the White House said.

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The 8 p.m. ET Oval Office speech comes a day after Biden's high-stakes visit to Israel where he pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow aid from Egypt into Gaza for Palestinian civilians reeling from Israel airstrikes.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media during his flight returning from Israel aboard Air Force One, Oct. 18, 2023.

In a rare move, Biden spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One, telling them he had been on the phone with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in "blunt negotiation" and that El-Sisi had agreed to open the closed Rafah crossing gate in southern Gaza to allow up to 20 trucks with aid through.

"I came to get something done -- I got it done," he said.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct 18, 2023.

"They're going to patch the road -- they have to fill in the potholes for the trucks to get through," he said, to repair damage from Israel bombing. "Expect that to take about eight hours tomorrow. So, there may be nothing rolling through … probably until Friday."

He added, "If Hamas confiscates it or doesn’t let it get through, it just confiscates it, then it’s going to end."

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Asked about what he told Israeli officials, Biden said, "I was very blunt about the need to support getting humanitarian aid to Gaza, get it to Gaza and do it quickly."

He added, "I got no pushback, virtually none. ... Let me say it again, I got no pushback."

"Look, Israel has been badly victimized, but you know, the truth is that if they have an opportunity to relieve suffering of people who are, have nowhere to go, they're gonna be, it's what they should do," Biden said. "And if they don't, they'll be held accountable in ways that may be unfair."

PHOTO: President Joe Biden joins Israel's Prime Minister for the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting, in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023.

Before he left for Israel, questions were raised about whether making the trip was worth the physical and political risk, something Biden brought up himself Wednesday.

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"Let me choose my words here. Not many people thought that we could get this done," he said, apparently referring to the delivery of aid to Gaza. "And not many people want to be associated with failure."

PHOTO: President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Ben Gurion International Airport following a visit to Israel, Oct. 18, 2023.

"Not many people want to be associated with failure. And there was quite frankly a -- a lengthy, lengthy, hour or more discussion about whether to go, because had we gone and this failed then, you know the United States failed, Biden's presidency failed, et cetera, which would be legitimate criticism."

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Saying Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah were in a "tough spot," Biden continued, "We're putting all of them in a tough situation, if we didn't get this done and so. It had to be in my view, we either, either took all the blame or not to put anyone else on the spot, or get it done. And I thought it was worth taking the chance to get it done."



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