Joe Biden reportedly offered an apology on Friday to Muslim-American leaders after he recently questioned Hamas’s death toll from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a grassroots event.
According to a report by the Washington Post, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee expressed regret for not better understanding the “human toll” of the violent conflict which has left thousands dead, including many innocent civilians.
“Something I said at a recent grassroots fundraiser about Israel, which was, of course, in no way intended to diminish the Jewish state’s right to self-defense or to question the effectiveness of its response to having its citizens targeted by Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket attacks, was heard by many in the context of the kind of language that has been used to marginalize and insult the Muslim-American community,” Biden said in the apology, according to the Post.
“That was never my intention and I deeply regret it. I apologize for not better understanding the human toll of this conflict,” Biden added.
The apology came after Biden was widely criticized for his comments during the event on Wednesday. Biden was addressing Israel’s recent retaliation in the conflict when he commented on the number of deaths attributable to Hamas rocket fire, saying he disagreed with “the question of proportionality.”
At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been reported killed in 11 days of violence as of Thursday, according to the Iraqi Health Ministry. On the Israeli side, at least 12 people have been reported killed in the violence.