On October 25, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held a joint press conference at the White House. In this press conference, Biden touched upon the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Press Trust of India (PTI)’s chief US correspondent Lalit K Jha reported that US President Joe Biden stated the progress on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor could be a possible reason for Hamas’ attack on Israel.
Following this, a flurry of news outlets published the syndicated story from the Press Trust of India (PTI). Among them were the Deccan Herald, Moneycontrol.com, Economic Times, The Telegraph, Times of India, and The Week.
In a now deleted tweet, CNN News18 correspondent Siddhant Mishra claimed that US President Joe Biden had said, “I am convinced that one of the reasons why Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israel–I don’t have proof but my instinct tells me this–was because of the recent announcements made during the recent G-20 summit in New Delhi on the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, which integrates the region.” (Archived link)
News agency ANI also made a similar claim. It stated that the US President had cited the announcement of the India-Middle East Corridor as a possible reason behind the Hamas terrorist attack. Following this, a number of news outlets published this syndicated story by ANI.
Alt News watched the full video of US President Joe Biden’s speech delivered at the White House on October 25, 2023. However, we did not find any mention of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
We also examined on the White House website the official transcript of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden’s remarks during their joint press conference. We did not find any portion that linked the Israel-Hamas conflict to the G20 or the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
We also verified this using a transcript of the press conference held by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, national economic council director Lael Brainard, and NSC coordinator of strategic communications John Kirby on October 26, available on the White House website. We found that during the press conference, Jha asked the President whether he believed the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor announced at the recent G20 summit could have precipitated the terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel.
On this, NSC coordinator of strategic communications John Kirby responded by interrupting Jha’s question. He said, “I think you misunderstood him. What he said was that he believed that the normalization process and the agreement that we were trying to reach between Israel and Saudi Arabia for normalization, which we believe is an important stepping stone to getting to a two-state solution, was what may have motivated Hamas to conduct those attacks. I think you misunderstood what he (President Biden) actually said.”
While raising his question in the press conference, Jha had mentioned that President Biden has twice in one week cited the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor as the reason for the Hamas attack. To gather more information on this, we examined the speech delivered by Joe Biden that week on the White House website. We discovered that he had commented on the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 20, and Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine. In the same speech he had mentioned the India-Middle East- Europe Economic Corridor. However, when we read the transcript of the entire speech available on the White House website to get the full context, it was revealed that he did not say that the economic corridor was the reason for the Hamas attack.
In fact, the President had actually stated, “And if we walk away and let Putin erase Ukraine’s independence, would-be aggressors around the world would be emboldened to try the same. The risk of conflict and chaos could spread in other parts of the world — in the Indo-Pacific, in the Middle East — especially in the Middle East.
Iran is — is supporting Russia’s U- — in Ukraine, and it’s supporting Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region. And we’ll continue to hold them accountable, I might add.
The United States and our partners across the region are working to build a better future for the Middle East, one where the Middle East is more stable, better connected to its neighbors, and — through innovative projects like the India-Middle East-Europe rail corridor that I announced this year at the summit of the world’s biggest economies. More predictable markets, more employment, less rage, less grievances, less war when connected. It benefits the people — it would benefit the people of the Middle East, and it would benefit us.”
To sum it up, US President Joe Biden did not, in fact, say in his October 25 press conference at the White House that the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the G20 summit held in Delhi could be a possible reason behind the Hamas attack on Israel. Though the White House itself also denied this, several media outlets ran the story with misleading claims.
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