2006: Israeli Attacks on Lebanon and Gaza

Despite Israel’s indiscriminate killings of civilians in both Lebanon and Palestine, Joe Biden defended Israel.

Palestinians try to extinguish a fire engulfing a car that was hit by an Israeli shell during shelling on the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on June 09, 2006.
Palestinians try to extinguish a fire engulfing a car that was hit by an Israeli shell in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia on June 9, 2006. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

By July 2006, Israel was bombing both Gaza and southern Lebanon, with Joe Biden cheering the Jewish state on. The Israelis, Biden said on MSNBC, “have in both cases, both in Gaza and in southern Lebanon, done the right thing.” In the face of international condemnations of Israel’s brutality in its attacks on Gaza and Lebanon, Biden defended Israel. “I find it fascinating — people talk about, ‘Has Israel gone too far?’ No one talks about whether Israel’s justified in the first place,” he said on “Meet the Press.” Unless critics of Israel recognize that it was a victim of terrorism, he said, “I think it’s awful — I think it’s a secondary question whether Israel’s gone too far.” Biden said his “only criticism of the Israelis is they’re not that great at public relations.” He compared Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Lebanon to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. “It’s a little bit like the same thing we had when we went into Afghanistan,” Biden said at a press conference in July 2006. “We went into Afghanistan, remember, we took out a wedding party by accident? Remember, we took out — with these very sophisticated missiles we had, we accidentally killed some citizens? Was ever a war more justified than us going into Afghanistan? I can’t think of any war since World War II more justified. Yet innocents got killed in us trying to protect America’s interests.”

By August 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed in Israel’s attacks against Lebanon, and UNICEF estimated that 30 percent of the casualties were children.

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