President Biden
President BidenOfficial White House Photo by Adam Schultz

US President Joe Biden told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview which aired on Sunday night that he does not foresee US troops in combat in the new Middle East war.

"I don't think that's necessary. Israel has one of the finest fighting forces in the country. I guarantee we're gonna provide them everything they need," he said.

The interview with Biden was recorded hours after he met in a video call with the families of 14 Americans who are missing following the Hamas attacks in Gaza.

Asked why he felt so strongly about speaking to these families personally, the President replied, “Because I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what's happening. Deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical. this is not even human behavior. It's pure barbarism. And we're gonna do everything in our power to get them home if we can find them.”

Asked whether the threat of terrorism in the United States has increased in the wake of what is going on in the Middle East, Biden said, “Yes. I had a meeting this morning with the Homeland Security people, with the FBI, with-- for the Situation Room, for the better part of an hour to discuss how we make sure that we prevent a lone wolf and/or any coordinated effort to try to do what was done in synagogues before, do what was done to Jews in the street. we're making a major effort to make sure that doesn't happen.”

Biden pointed out that, when asked about the fact that Hamas terrorists and Palestinian Arab civilians are being killed in Israel’s counterattack, “there's a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And so I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas.”

“Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They're hiding behind the civilians. They put their headquarters where civilians are and buildings and the like. But to the extent they can separate out…the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians,” he added.

The President indicated that he would like to see a humanitarian corridor that allows Gazans out of the area and would also like to see humanitarian supplies brought into Gaza.

To the question “Would you support Israeli occupation of Gaza at this point?”, Biden replied, “I think it'd be a big mistake. Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don't represent all the Palestinian people. And I think that...It would be a mistake to...for Israel to occupy...Gaza again. We...but going in but taking out the extremists the Hezbollah is up north but Hamas down south. Is a necessary requirement.”

He said he believes that Hamas must be eliminated entirely but “there needs to be a Palestinian authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state.”

Biden also warned Iran not to escalate the war and that his message to Hezbollah and its backer, Iran, is: “Don't. Don't, don't, don't.”