Borrowing advice former “Iron Lady” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave to former President Bush who was perceived by many as rather weak-spined following Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, I’ll redirect this quote to the current president.
“Remember Joe, this is no time to go wobbly” on unequivocal American support for Israel’s struggle for the survival of its entire Jewish population in the Middle East.
Whereas the Biden administration initially took a strong pro-Israel position in response to the savage October 7 Hamas attacks that killed 1,200 people, that stance has become observably more nuanced as pro-Palestinian/anti-Semitic pressures build within his party, most particularly among younger voters.
There appears to be a direct disconnect between Biden political priorities to tamp down growing internal progressive backlash demanding a retaliation cease-fire, versus the win-or-die stakes for Israel which demand final elimination of a future Hamas threat.
When Israel’s Defense Minister warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken that “The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months,” the Israeli press reports that Blinken pushed back replying, “I don’t think you have the credit for that.”
By this, as interpreted by Wall Street Journal editors, Secretary Blinken referred to limited credit with President Biden, as the White House bends to the growing pressure against Israel from the Democrat left.
Although Biden has stated that Israel has the right to defend itself, Blinken has emphasized that this must be done in a way that civilians are protected.
This, he has said, “means avoiding damage to life-critical infrastructure like hospitals.”
Secretary Blinken reportedly “underscored” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “the imperative to the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south.”
Blinken demanded that Israel must take “more effective steps to protect the lives of civilians,” recommending that such displacement could be avoided by creating civilian “safe zones” near the fighting.
The irony here is that Israel can’t protect civilians when they can’t evacuate them and when Hamas, as proven, hides fighters in key civilian infrastructure including those hospitals.
Also not clear is what Israel could do to prevent Hamas from positioning themselves in those safe zones as they have in the north.
Although Israel and Hamas — with Biden administration urgings — have agreed to brief battle pauses for limited prisoner/hostage exchanges, a longer cease-fire plays to goals of Hamas to reorganize, regroup and regain combat momentum.
Allowing pauses to turn into a more lasting cease-fire would also leave control of the territory to Hamas which continues to rule south Gaza as a base from which to plot a next promised massacre.
The brutality of the previous one was horrific, with Hamas attacking 20 Israeli cities, murdering children in front of parents and parents in front of children, decapitating and burning babies alive, and taking about 240 people of all ages captive as hostages.
This is all part of the Hamas goal, one apparently endorsed by a substantial majority of their population. Sloganized “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” calls for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea accomplished through violent means.
Congressional progressives threaten to condition a Biden proposal to provide $14 billion in aid to Netanyahu’s government to a halt on bombing and a commitment that Israel won’t occupy Gaza, a territory they entirely withdrew from in 2009.
This as anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian demonstrations break out in some of our most elite universities and populous cities.
Like those in New York when protestors blocked Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, vandalized the New York Public Library’s main building causing $75,000 of damage, and demanded to be allowed inside the Museum of Natural History which was closed in anticipation of violence, burned an Israeli flag, and shouted that the police protecting the building were equal to the “KKK.”
These “protests” are against the targets of more than 10,000 rocket attacks on Israeli communities and citizens without any outside concern regarding whom or what gets hit.
In response, President Biden has persuaded Israel to moderate its ground invasion, decline to escalate rocket reprisals with Hezbollah, use less force in north Gaza, and pause attacks in fighting for aid deliveries and evacuation of civilians to south Gaza.
In doing so, Israel has demonstrated every intent to spare civilian lives in a quest to eliminate those bent upon murdering nearly 9 million of their own - while in the process — recovering as many kidnapped hostages as possible without ceding military advantages to those with no demonstrated interest in protecting human lives on either side.
President Biden, remember the tragic lessons from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Don’t go wobbly again.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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