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Analysis: Is there a shift in Biden’s Israel policy?

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Biden’s current rhetoric does not necessarily signify a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy, given his longstanding ties with Israel and Netanyahu

In the realm of global politics, U-turns are somewhat expected for those closely monitoring international affairs. Nations, once adversaries, can navigate a path to peace and friendship – a characteristic element of politics in general. However, there is a distinct line where hypocrisy or deception fails to hold ground.

In this context, let us delve into U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent remarks apparently criticizing Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza. During a fundraising event, Biden expressed, “Israel’s security can rest on the U.S., but right now it has more than the U.S. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world supporting them.”

He noted a potential erosion of this support: “They’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”

The growing international pressure, coupled with domestic considerations ahead of the U.S. presidential elections and Israel’s actions against Palestinians, appears to influence Biden’s current rhetoric. However, this does not necessarily signify a shift in U.S. foreign policy, considering Biden’s relationship with both Israel as a state and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Precisely, because what he considers as Israel’s actions, i.e. the indiscriminate attacks against Gazan civilians, are directly supported, and in a way, legitimized by the Biden administration at the White House in the name of the fight against Hamas.

‘I am a Zionist’

Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Biden had arrived in Tel Aviv, where he warmly hugged Bibi as he got off the Air Force One at the Ben Gurion International Airport and confirmed his support to Israel.

Then, Biden had reportedly said in Tel Aviv, “I don’t believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist,” a remark which he repeated on Monday, this time in Washington.

“I got in trouble – got criticized very badly by the southern part of my state and some of the southern parts of the country when, 35 years ago, I said, ‘You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I’m a Zionist.’ And, by the way, you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist,” the U.S. president said, once again restating his assurance and commitment to Israel, during a Hanukkah Holiday Reception at the White House.

Since Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza has begun, Washington has sent strong political messages to the international community about its commitment to the protection of Israel. In addition, the Biden administration has flexed its military muscle by sending warships and military aircraft to the Eastern Mediterranean, sending additional ammunition, defense systems and an additional $14.5 billion in military aid to Israel, reinforcing its support to Israel.

In other words, the U.S. is not only remaining idle and silent while Israel is committing crimes at several levels in Gaza, but it has also provided support to the actions of Israel’s War Cabinet.

Longstanding support for Israel

The unwavering U.S. support for Israel extends beyond Biden’s relationship with Bibi’s War Cabinet. It is a longstanding commitment that predates the Oct. 7 incidents. Over the past seven decades, the U.S. and European capitals have consistently supported Israel, even in the face of U.N. resolutions condemning its violence and actions in occupied Palestinian territories.

While Israel faces unprecedented isolation, the burden of the U.S.’ unconditional support is becoming apparent. However, Washington shares this isolation, having enabled Bibi’s War Cabinet to commit atrocities. Mere criticism without substantive action falls short, considering the political and military support extended to Tel Aviv during the Israeli military’s attacks on hospitals, schools, refugee camps and places of worship, causing the death of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

The situation in Gaza is not solely a consequence of decisions by Netanyahu’s administration. Those supporting the War Cabinet and endorsing occupation over the past seven decades share responsibility for violating Palestinian rights. Thus, Biden’s seemingly critical remarks may not signify a policy shift; rather, they might be viewed as another moment of silence as Israel continues its actions, claiming more innocent lives in Gaza. How many more Palestinian lives must be claimed by Israel before Biden makes an actual shift? That, time will tell. History will record whether he will stand by or turn his criticism into action.

Source: Daily Sabah

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