Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Miserable Failure

To the Biden administration, the humanitarian pause must have seemed an elegant way to thread the needle between the contradictory demands of Israel and Washington’s Arab partners on Gaza. Yet, immediately after meeting with Blinken on Friday, Netanyahu rejected it. No one familiar with Netanyahu’s career—which includes humiliating then–Vice President Biden in 2010 with settlement construction in Jerusalem when Biden was there to push the resumption of peace negotiations with the Palestinians—has an excuse for expecting otherwise. Not only is Netanyahu in grave political danger the moment the war stops, but he is experienced in running through a yellow light when he knows the United States is unwilling to give Israel a red one. Accordingly, Israel turned off communications in Gaza, which the Biden team took credit for restoring when Israel shut them down the previous weekend, and the whole predicate of the humanitarian pause is to deliver the aid that formed the most concrete achievement of Blinken’s last trip to the region.

Blinken fared no better with Arab nations and Turkey. Meeting with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts in Amman, Blinken claimed they were united in seeking “to end this conflict in a way that ensures lasting peace and security in the region.” But his bottom line was that the immediate cease-fire they demanded “would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7th.” This was after Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry thundered over the US “double standard” regarding the devastation it seeks to stop in Ukraine and the devastation it is willing to permit in Gaza, “as if the Arab blood is lesser than the bloods of other people.” When Blinken later flew to Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan found an excuse to visit the Black Sea and pawned Blinken off on his foreign minister.
I don't know what they really want, but an unwillingness to actually use power is such a 21st century "liberal" thing.