Biden’s Real Mistake in Pausing Military Aid to Israel

It is unfortunate that President Biden chose to announce his pause of some weapons sales to Israel while on a political campaign swing through Wisconsin. I use that word — “unfortunate” — not because I don’t understand why Biden did so, but because the move has enabled Benjamin Netanyahu to deflect attention from the fact that the most dangerous leader threatening Israel today is not Biden but Bibi.

Netanyahu’s policies have not and will not produce a sustainable victory in Gaza, cannot secure Israel against its greatest existential threat — Iran — and are endangering world Jewry and undermining America’s broader Middle East strategic needs and goals.

That is the real source of tension between Washington and Jerusalem today. It is not Biden’s temporary hold on sending Israel a fresh supply of 2,000-pound bombs and some other offensive weapons — which Biden has been warning Israel for months that he would do if Israel attempted to pulverize Rafah, the way that it did Gaza City and Khan Younis, without an evacuation of civilians.

It is a measure of the level of contempt with which Netanyahu’s government views the Biden administration that Bibi’s Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, immediately posted on X about Biden’s move: “Hamas ❤️ Biden.” That is how Bibi’s team treats the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history, the man who rushed to save Israel from Hamas on Oct. 7 and from Iran on April 13. It is just shameful.

Just do a simple mind experiment: Let’s assume Biden gave Israel all the 2,000-pound bombs it wanted. Israel leveled Rafah, where Hamas’s leadership, four intact battalions and many Israeli hostages are believed to be holed up. None of that would change the fact that Israel has no Palestinian or Arab partner to govern Gaza the next day in a way that would ensure a new Hamas would not rise from the ashes.

Netanyahu has managed to persuade and cajole Israel’s army leadership and people to fight this war in Gaza for more than seven months with no plan for how to get out and consolidate whatever military victory has been achieved. This is a direct result of the fact that in December 2022, Netanyahu formed the most extreme, far-right cabinet in Israel’s history — to get back into power and stave off his trial on corruption charges. The Jewish supremacists in his cabinet will not let Netanyahu form any partnership with the non-Hamas Palestinian Authority that governs in the West Bank for fear it could lead to a Palestinian state there and in Gaza.

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