Last Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored President Joe Biden's call for de-escalation of the conflict in Gaza. Instead, Netanyahu said Israel will continue its operations against Hamas. They won't stop until they achieve their aim. Meanwhile, Biden faces pressure from his progressive allies regarding the conflict.
Biden’s Call For De-escalation Unheeded
On Wednesday, Biden spoke to the Israeli prime minister via phone. The two had a detailed discussion on the events in Gaza. In addition, they discussed Israel's progress in reducing Hamas’ terrorist capabilities. Also, they also covered the ongoing diplomatic efforts to resolve the longstanding conflict. The White House issued a statement regarding the conversation. “The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” it said.
However, the call for de-escalation fell on deaf ears. Netanyahu said that he appreciates America's support for their actions. However, Israel will push through with its offensive. They will continue until they can “return the calm and security” to Israel’s citizens. This means the operations against Hamas will continue until they achieve their goals.
Enduring a daily barrage of rocket attacks, Israel started implementing its counter-offensives. This includes airstrikes that targeted Hamas military complexes. They also engaged in the demolition of known Hamas hiding places. Many criticized Israel for the heavy civilian toll. Reportedly over 200 Palestinians died as a result of their operations. Critics also called out Israel's attacks on civilian buildings such as the AP office. However, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) denied the allegations. They said they only attack locations with confirmed Hamas presence.
Since the start of the conflict two weeks ago, Hamas launched over 3,000 rockets into Israel. However, the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system managed to intercept and destroy more than 090% of the incoming missiles.
The US Remains Supportive Of Israel
Despite having its call for de-escalation ignored, the Biden administration remains supportive of Israel. The US used its veto powers to reject a United Nations Security Council draft calling for a ceasefire three times. At the same time, it reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself, insisting that the world remember that Hamas is a terrorist. In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that there are “fundamental differences between a terrorist organization, Hamas, that is indiscriminately raining down rockets” and Israel's response defending itself, that is targeting the terrorists.”
However, the Associated Press reported that top Biden administration officials told the Israelis privately that they’re running out of time in terms of objections to continued violence in the area. The officials advised Israel that they should wind down operations soon.
Biden Faces Pressure From Democratic Party
Meanwhile, Biden is facing intense pressure from progressive members of his own party. The progressives want Biden to get tough on Israel. In fact, some Democrat members of Congress are objecting to the $735 million sales of precision-guided missiles to the Jewish state. For example, Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said he has “serious concerns about the timing of this weapons sale, the message it will send to Israel and the world about the urgency of a cease-fire.”
Other progressives are also urging Biden to stand up to Israel. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blamed “right-wing extremists in Jerusalem” for the escalation of violence. Meanwhile, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants support withheld.
Do you support Israel’s decision to continue its offensive against Hamas? Or, do you think they should listen to Biden’s call to de-escalate the situation? Let us know what you think about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.