This article was last updated on February 9, 2024
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A Shift in Biden’s Stance Towards Israel
In a recent press conference, President Joe Biden has made a significant shift in his stance towards Israel by bluntly expressing that the actions employed in Gaza Strip have been “excessive.” This remark signifies a more critical approach towards Israel than he has previously adopted. President Biden made clear his intention to prioritize efforts to reach a long-lasting ceasefire. He further stipulated plans to exert influence on Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to enhance aid flow into the embattled Gaza Strip. Biden emphasized on the urgency of action, stating, “A multitude of innocent people are deprived, suffering, and losing their lives. This situation must be alleviated.”
Domestic Dissatisfaction Over Biden’s Israel Policy
In the face of escalating conflict, discontent regarding Biden’s policy on Israel is surmounting domestically. Calls for a cessation to the war are being raised by both Democrats and Republicans. The continued duration of the conflict is eroding the previously undoubting support for Israel from the US. In relation to this, a spokesperson for the White House, John Kirby, has communicated that the US does not back any ground offensive in Rafah. He warned, “A renewed military operation towards southern Gaza would result in catastrophe”. Kirby highlighted the plight of the Palestinian civilians, “More than a million Palestinians are taking shelter in Rafah — they were instructed to do so. Israel has a critical responsibility to safeguard these innocent civilians.”
Faltering Progress in Ceasefire Negotiations
Negotiations that ensued between Hamas and Israel, focusing on a potential ceasefire and the release of hostages, hit a wall. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, intends to prolong the ongoing military operation and declined the proposed ceasefire from Hamas. Since the commencement of the war on October 7, the death toll has reached nearly 28,000 Palestinians, as reported by the Hamas-controlled health ministry. Included in these figures are over 20,000 women and children. Given President Biden’s unfolding approach towards Israel and the increasing domestic criticism, continued vigilance on the developments is necessary to understand the future trajectory of US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.