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Biden defends memory, calls Israel's actions in Gaza 'over the top'

Speaking at a White House press conference on Thursday evening, US president Joe Biden said he had no problems with his memory. He also criticised Israel's actions in Gaza, calling them "over the top" and demanding that the suffering in the region "has got to stop".

A report published this week, which said the 81-year-old would not be prosecuted for taking classified documents home, described him as a well-meaning elderly man with a bad memory. Special prosecutor Robert Hur, who wrote the report, held senior positions in the Justice Department under the Trump administration.

There have been multiple reports of a confused Biden recently. At a fundraiser in New York, he repeatedly referred to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl when he apparently meant Angela Merkel. Last weekend, he confused French president Emmanuel Macron with François Mitterrand.

Changed stance on Israel?

During the press conference, Biden also criticised Israel for its military action in Gaza. “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza – in the Gaza Strip – has been over the top,” he said, adding that he was pushing for more humanitarian aid to be allowed in.

The comment could mark a shift in the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Biden administration has defended Israel since the conflict began in October, while most other countries have been more critical.

According to CNN, the White House is frustrated by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent actions. This week he rejected a ceasefire proposal from Hamas and dismissed a two-state solution for the region, which is seen as the only way to peacefully resolve the conflict.

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