Since Israel resumed its assault on Gaza after a weeklong pause in fighting, the brutality of the war has only increased. The official death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 20,000, and over 50,000 have been wounded, but this is likely an undercount. Israel has continued to use a strategy that seeks maximum loss of life, using 2,000-pound “bunker buster” bombs supplied by the United States that have a massive range and depth of impact.
The “shoot first, think later” approach of the Israeli Defense Forces was put on full display when the IDF shot and killed three of Hamas’s Israeli hostages earlier this week, who were waving white flags with their hands up. Despite the IDF’s claim that the incident is “under review,” it is completely emblematic of the approach with which Netanyahu has carried out this entire war.
In this context, and under pressure from growing public opinion against the war in the United States, Biden has somewhat shifted his public statements towards Netanyahu. Last week, Biden stated publicly to his re-election campaign donors that Netanyahu needs to change course on the war, away from the current “indiscriminate” bombing campaign. There is also growing division between Biden’s administration and Netanyahu on a plan for Gaza after the war.
But despite these public chidings, all of Biden’s actions are still egging on the Israeli war machine. The US earlier this month vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution for an immediate ceasefire. On Monday, the Security Council also canceled a planned vote for humanitarian aid to Gaza, in order to avoid yet another veto from the US.
While Biden blocks the UN from taking even symbolic action, he is also doggedly pursuing the goal of sending billions of dollars worth of weapons and military aid to Israel. Biden has also made explicitly clear that there will be no qualifications or conditions put on Israel to receive this aid, as he said at a Democratic fundraiser: “We’re not going to do a damn thing other than protect Israel in the process. Not a single thing.”
Despite a bill to send more military aid to both Israel and Ukraine being held up in Congress, Biden used his executive authority to authorize over $106 million for Israel immediately, and plans for even bigger packages. Biden has also militarily bolstered Israel by moving US carriers into the area to deter opportunistic attacks from Hezbollah and other forces.
Administration officials have repeatedly claimed that behind the scenes, Biden is pushing Netanyahu away from certain military actions and trying to alter the course of the war towards less devastation. This is likely a cold comfort for Palestinians who have lost their homes, loved ones, and lives to US-made bombs and artillery. It also begs the question, with more than 300 Gazans dying every day and violence against Palestinians in the West Bank still on the rise, what ‘worse scenario’ Biden has successfully warned Netanyahu away from, and why he would furnish Netanyahu with the weapons needed to carry that out.
It is clear that despite insistence that Biden is a peacemaker behind closed doors, every public action has served to embolden Israel’s campaign of terror on Gaza, and even further, to deter humanitarian aid to Palestinians. It is no exaggeration to say that the same blood that stains Netanyahu’s hands also sullies Biden.
In the US, visceral disgust for the appeasement strategy of Biden and the bloodthirsty attitude of both major parties is growing, fueling sentiment like the #AbandonBiden campaign led by Muslim-American community leaders. What is missing is an organized force that can turn the widespread anti-war attitude among working and young people into a sustained movement prepared to disrupt business as usual. This is ultimately what will have to be built in order to force the Biden administration to put even an inch of meaningful distance between himself and the bloodshed in Gaza.
Socialist Alternative and the ISA stand completely against the devastating war on Gaza and US military aid to Israel, and for a working-class movement on both sides of the wall and internationally to achieve the end of the brutal occupation and freedom for the whole working class.
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