The New York Times reported on Saturday that the Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal negotiations were at a standstill, resulting from what Prime Minister Netanyahu described as Hamas’s “ludicrous demands.” These included: leaving Hamas in power in Gaza, a full Israeli withdrawal, and the release of thousands of Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails. To the same effect, other news outlets translated the PM’s comment as dismissing Hamas’s “delusional demands.” Yet, given the Biden administration’s shifting signals about continuing support for Israel’s Gaza agenda how really divorced from reality are Hamas’s demands?

Just the other day Secretary of State Antony Blinken once again made the case for Israel proceeding towards a Palestinian state, even though Israelis are as adamantly opposed as ever. Almost to the point of hyperbole, according to the Times of Israel, Blinken said there is “an extraordinary opportunity” in the coming months for Israel to normalize ties with its Arab neighbors if only Israel would fully embrace the notion of a Palestinian state, even as the effort to dismantle Hamas is still ongoing.


Yet, as we have been suggesting for some time, the so-called “two-state solution” seems higher on the Biden agenda than that of various Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, who recognize the Iranian threat implicit in a Palestinian state.

But at all events the message to Hamas, which freely acknowledges that it mounted October 7th in order to proclaim to the world that a Palestinian state is still very much on the table despite the Abraham Accords, is a clear one: Hamas has an important ally in Joe Biden in its quest for a Palestinian state despite Israel’s fierce opposition. All Hamas has to do is wait for him to lay down the law to Israel.

And there is more. It was not too long ago that despite his ostensible support for Israel’s goal of defanging Hamas, he morphed into a very vocal critic of Israel’s actual efforts to do so. He became highly critical of Israel over the collateral Palestinian deaths that resulted and said Israel’s efforts were “over the top.” Although he never outrightly charged Israel with targeting civilians, he said precautions must be taken in accordance with international law, which of course, inferred that Israel was not in compliance.

More recently, President Biden has urged Israel not to invade Rafah, where Hamas’s leaders and remaining forces are holed up, because of the many civilians that have fled there. But he also says that in any event, it shouldn’t invade without a “credible” plan to protect civilians in place. This is even though one of his spokesmen had not too long before noted that Israel instituted more procedures to avoid civilian casualties than any other modern military has done or now does.

And, of course, the President never coupled his admonitions to Israel without noting Hamas’s notorious use of civilian shields. Yet support for Israel here would seem to be a no-brainer. Again, the message to Hamas was all things will come to those who wait. And there is still more.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. is now, all of a sudden, investigating several Israeli airstrikes in Gaza at the end of October that killed dozens of civilians and the possible use by Israel of white phosphorous in Lebanon around that time as part of a probe by the State Department to determine whether Israel has misused American supplied bombs and munitions to kill civilians.

Should not this investigation now also be taken by Hamas as a positive sign that there is growing daylight between Israel and the U.S. and that today’s folly is tomorrow’s brilliant insight?

Further, while the U.S. ordinarily shields Israel from adverse UN action and has twice vetoed Security Council resolutions opposed by Israel since October 7, it also subsequently abstained on two occasions allowing the Council to adopt resolutions calling for increased aid to Gaza and “humanitarian” pauses in the fighting.

Also consider the report by Reuters on Monday, that the U.S. is proposing a UN Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and opposing an Israeli invasion of Rafah. In apparent response to Israel’s plan to carve out a buffer zone inside Gaza’s borders, the U.S. draft would also reject “any actions by any party [i.e., Israel or Hamas] that reduce the territory of Gaza on a temporary or permanent basis, including through the establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones, as well as the widespread, systematic demolition of civilian infrastructure.”

This is an ominous development since this is the first time – that we know of – that the U.S. is affirmatively seeking to hammer Israel at the UN. While concededly the U.S. proposal was offered as an alternative to an Algerian draft called for a permanent cease-fire in place, which would ensure the survival of Hamas, the U.S. could simply have vetoed the Algerian draft.

On the other hand, President Biden is also continuing to provide crucial support for Israel.

Thus, the Wall Street Journal reported the other day that the Biden administration is preparing to send a large, fresh supply of bombs and other weapons to Israel that would add to its military arsenal even as the U.S. pushes for a cease-fire in Gaza. The Journal noted that the new supply is indicative of a broad effort by the Biden administration to speed the flow of weapons to Israel since the October 7 attack by Hamas. But even here, there is now talk of the Biden team’s planning for possible conditioning aid on this or that change in Israeli policy.

It is to be hoped that the Biden drift is not a harbinger of how the post-Gaza war diplomacy will go and Israel will, drip by drip, be pressured into accepting a den of terrorists as its next-door neighbor. To the contrary, the President should step up to the plate, in foursquare support for America’s closest ally in the world.

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