Growing concerns in Biden administration over support for Israeli war on Gaza

Ahram Online , AP , Friday 3 Nov 2023

US administration officials voiced new concerns and warnings that President Joe Biden's quick support for Israel in its war on Gaza could backfire, amid the continuous Israeli airstrikes on Palestinian civilians and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden, AFP


According to NBC News, citing senior US officials familiar with the internal discussions, there is a growing concern among top Biden's administration officials about the ongoing Israeli war in the besieged strip.

According to the report, those officials are raising questions about how Israelis are carrying out the war and uncertainty about whether they can be reined in.

They are also worried that the US could become "more isolated on the world stage" over Biden’s strong support to Israel, and that he will be blamed for some of the Israeli military’s attacks in Gaza.

Recently, Biden has lightly adjusted the administration’s public message regarding the Israeli war on Gaza. He emphasised concern for the civilians, highlighting US efforts to get them humanitarian  relief. 

The shift follows growing criticism at home and abroad of Biden’s decision to swiftly back Israel’s military operations, while initially speaking less forcefully about protecting Palestinians, amid the rising number of civilian casualties in Gaza.

“If this really goes bad, we want to be able to point to our past statements,” a senior US official said. The official said the administration is particularly worried about a narrative taking hold that Biden supports all Israeli military actions and that US' provided weapons have been used to kill Palestinian civilians, the vast majority of them women and children.

The Defence Department has said the US is not putting any limits or restrictions on the weapons it’s providing Israel. 

In a statement Thursday, Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said, "It’s time for Israel’s friends to recognise that the current operational approach is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm and does not appear likely to achieve the goal of permanently ending the threat from Hamas."

Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israeli war on Gaza could lead the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 election, in a state he almost certainly can’t afford to lose in his bid for reelection.

The situation has prompted the White House to discuss ways to alleviate tensions with some of the state’s prominent Democrats, including several who have been vocal critics of the president about the war.

The 80-year-old Democrat has been accused of turning a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, but the US leader has defended his actions, pointing to his efforts to get humanitarian aid into the besieged strip.

NBC news as well as the New York times reported, citing officials said, that the United States has been flying surveillance drones over Gaza in search of detainees held in captivity by the Palestininas resistance groups.

The US military has been sending weapons and advisers to Israel, but the flights suggest a more active American role.

The MQ-9 Reaper drones have been flying since 7 October, the officials said. The officials would not say where the drones are flying out of. 

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