He drew a parallel to the United States after 9/11, when, he said, “we also made mistakes,” an apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, which Mr. Biden voted for as a senator but later regretted.
“The vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas,” Mr. Biden said, accusing the group of using the civilians of Gaza as human shields. “The Palestinian people are suffering greatly, as well,” he added. “We mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian lives. Like the entire world, I was outraged and saddened by the enormous loss of life yesterday in the hospital in Gaza.”
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the Middle East regional director of the World Health Organization, said on Wednesday that the Israeli military had recently told 20 hospitals in northern Gaza, including Ahli Arab, to evacuate. He described the instruction as wholly unrealistic, “given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and of alternative shelter for those displaced.”
The Israeli military acknowledged calling Ahli Arab in recent days, not because of a planned strike, it said, but as part of the wider push to evacuate the north.
Mr. Biden had planned to continue from Israel to Jordan, to meet with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, but that gathering was called off on Tuesday after the hospital strike. Mr. Biden flew back to the United States on Wednesday.
Patrick Kingsley and Peter Baker reported from Tel Aviv, and Michael D. Shear and Katie Rogers from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Julian E. Barnes, Adam Entous, Helene Cooper, Aaron Boxerman, David E. Sanger, Hiba Yazbek, Raja Abdulrahim, Yousur Al-Hlou, Christoph Koettl, Nadav Gavrielov, Monika Pronczuk, Farnaz Fassihi, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Vivian Yee and Mourad Hijazy.