Is Biden Really A Friend Of Israel?

Is Biden Really A Friend Of Israel?


Leonard Zwelling

President Biden has held up the delivery of American weapons to Israel as a means of deterring the Israeli incursion into Rafah in Gaza. The fear is that a full Israeli assault to eradicate the remaining four Hamas battalions and the Hamas leadership in Rafah would raise the civilian casualties to even higher levels. This is intolerable to Mr. Biden, but now is no time to appear wishy-washy on support for Israel.

Let’s get a few things straight.

First, prior to October 7, there was a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. Yes, Mr. Netanyahu’s tolerance for the Qatari funding of Hamas was unwise, but the peace was broken by Hamas in a frightful fashion not by Israel.

Second, Hamas never really created a viable infrastructure or a commercial center in Gaza during its 15 or so years running the place. They built tunnels instead of improving the life of the Gazan Palestinians because the sole interest of Hamas is destroying Israel.

Third, Hamas makes the whole war difficult by hiding underground and storing the hostages there as well. They are using the people they govern as human shields. These are not brave freedom fighters. They are feckless terrorists bent on destruction not the improvement of life for Palestinians.

Fourth, as far as I can tell, the Israelis have offered Hamas a reasonable deal in Palestinian prisoner exchanges for hostages and a cease fire. As usual, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Fifth, the Israelis bear some responsibility for this stale mate as well because Netanyahu really wants the war to continue so he can both wipe out Hamas in Gaza to please the extremists in his governing coalition and stay out of jail by staying in power.

To date, the United States has really not offered a route to progress in the area. This is sad as the end game is clear. As Tom Friedman has said, “two states for two indigenous people.” This will never happen on Netanyahu’s watch.

Mr. Biden honoring the six million Holocaust victims is not enough to offset his decision to withhold weapons from Israel. Any perceived weakness of Israel will be used by its enemies (e.g., Hezbollah) to try to gain advantage.

What we really need is a plan to get Hamas out of Gaza, rebuild Gaza with help from the Sunni Arab states, perhaps with a George H. W. Bush-like coalition, and pave the way for new elections in Israel. Mr. Biden has to say that without seeming to interfere in internal Israeli politics.

This is reality. Israel needs the weapons. Hamas needs to go. The Palestinians need their own state and the killing in Gaza must stop.

If the college demonstrators had marched for this instead of the eradication of the Jewish state, perhaps they would not have engendered such backlash.

The Middle East is always complicated. Iran will do everything in its power to keep it that way. The Saudis can tip the balance of power in the region and keep the Iran influence out by signing an accord with Israel. There is much to be gained from a peaceful settlement of the war in Gaza. We just are lacking the real leadership to get there.

I am no longer sure Mr. Biden is really a friend of Israel. I am definitely sure that Mr. Netanyahu does not have Israel’s best interest at heart. I know that Hamas only wants to kill Jews.

This is a dire situation. I am not sure how we get out of it.

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