U.S. President Joe Biden warned Iran to “be careful” on 11 October, Wednesday, and told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States is sending more military assistance to help Israel fight Hamas militants.
Speaking to a group of Jewish community leaders, Biden for the first time connected the U.S. deployment of a carrier fleet near Israel to concerns Iran might seek to become involved. A day back, US President Joe Biden confirmed that American citizens were among those taken hostage by Hamas. The President strongly denounced Hamas for their “utter malevolence” displayed during the attack.
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Indeed, the USA and Israel relations are highly strong and sensitive. Steadfast support for Israel’s security has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for every U.S. Administration since the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Since its founding in 1948, the United States has provided Israel with over $125 billion in bilateral assistance focused on addressing new and complex security threats, bridging Israel’s capability gaps through security assistance and cooperation, increasing interoperability through joint exercises, and helping Israel maintain its Qualitative Military Edge (QME). This assistance has helped transform the Israeli Defense Forces into one of the world’s most capable, effective militaries and turned the Israeli military industry and technology sector into one of the largest exporters of military capabilities worldwide.
President Biden’s recent stance, while defending Israel, made only a passing mention of the suffering endured by innocent Palestinians due to Israel’s retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas attack originated. This steadfast stance might face increasing challenges if the humanitarian crisis for Palestinians worsens as Israel escalates its military efforts to eradicate Hamas, as expected. As the conflict extends into its fifth day, the toll on both sides is heart-wrenching.
In the densely populated coastal enclave of Gaza, A humanitarian crisis is swiftly unfolding there, where at least 1,100 people have died, according to health officials. The only power station stopped working Wednesday after running out of fuel, an official said. Simultaneously, the Israeli death count has risen to 1,200 people, according to reports from Al Jazeera, and among them, at least 14 American citizens were killed, as White House Press Note released. The devastating impact of this conflict continues to unfold with each passing day.
The situation remains highly volatile, and the international community closely monitors the ongoing conflict in the region. The need for diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and alleviate the suffering of civilians is paramount as the Israel-Gaza crisis continues to evolve.
Mixed Opinions on President Biden’s Handling of the Israel-Palestinian Issue
A somber perspective prevails among Americans regarding President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Palestinian issue. A survey conducted in August by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 61% of Americans disapproved of Biden’s approach to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Only 35% of U.S. adults expressed approval, a figure slightly lower than Biden’s overall approval rating of 42% in the same poll.
Nearly half of Americans (44%) believe that the U.S. is providing the appropriate level of support to Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Interestingly, Republicans were more inclined than Democrats to advocate for increased support for Israel. Conversely, 42% of Americans believe that the right level of support is extended to the Palestinians, with Democrats and Independents more likely than Republicans to call for greater assistance to the Palestinian side.
Interestingly, Donald Trump, during his campaign sought to weaponize for political gain the deepening conflict that could still be raging around the time of the 2024 presidential election has taken a very different stand criticizing Joe Biden, he said, “Under my leadership, the world was peaceful and calm because America was respected … with crooked Joe Biden, you have chaos, bloodshed, war, terror and death,” Trump said. “Joe Biden came along and tossed Israel to the bloodthirsty jihads,” Trump added without offering evidence.
U.S. Commitment to Aid Israel Raises Concerns
US President Joe Biden has committed to enhancing military assistance to Israel in the wake of an unprecedented assault by Hamas militants, resulting in the tragic loss of over 1,200 Israeli lives and triggering a vigorous response against the Gaza Strip under Palestinian control. This pledge has ignited concerns regarding the possibility of Washington increasing its defense aid to Israel without compromising support for Ukraine.
Officials in the Biden administration maintain that the United States can indeed manage both endeavors simultaneously. However, they also acknowledge the existence of substantial challenges that must be navigated.
Dan Shapiro, the senior adviser for regional integration at the U.S. State Department, recently disclosed in an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic that the Biden administration is exploring the possibility of Israel normalizing relations with countries extending beyond the Gulf region, including those in Africa and East Asia.
Shapiro, a former U.S. envoy to Israel who now serves in this newly established role, praised the “significant enhancement in security cooperation” between Israel and its newfound Arab partners. He emphasized the U.S.’s keen interest in partnering with these nations as they establish these coalitions, with the goal of collectively strengthening and securing the Middle East and fostering prosperity.
While U.S. officials have acknowledged that the efforts to formalize ties between Israel and Arab countries do not serve as a replacement for a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the Biden administration has yet to take substantial actions to rekindle the prospects of a Palestinian state.
Furthermore, despite providing $3.8 billion in annual aid to Israel, the Biden administration has shown reluctance in holding the Netanyahu government accountable for its actions against Palestinians, including the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, which contravenes U.S. policy.
During the UN General Assembly session last month, Netanyahu rejected the notion that peace with Palestinians should be a prerequisite for normalizing relations with Arab neighbors.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Perspective
Russian President Vladimir Putin has provided his initial remarks on the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, characterizing it as a consequence of the United States’ flawed foreign policy. Speaking during his discussions with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Al-Sudani, Putin articulated his view on Tuesday, suggesting that “many will concur with me that this serves as a glaring illustration of the shortcomings in US policies within the Middle East.”
Putin expressed his belief that the US has endeavored to assert dominance in mediating the conflict but has failed to pursue compromises acceptable to both parties. Instead, they have sought to impose their vision of the resolution while exerting pressure on all involved parties.
The Russian leader further criticized the United States for its failure to consider the essential interests of the Palestinian people, highlighting their disregard for UN General Assembly resolutions that outline the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
In the midst of this crisis, President Biden and his administration face a complex and sensitive diplomatic challenge. Balancing support for Israel with the pressing humanitarian concerns in the region and addressing international criticism will be a formidable task that the U.S. must navigate in the days and weeks to come. The Israel-Gaza crisis remains a critical issue in the global arena, with the potential to impact the geopolitics of the Middle East for years to come.