Joe Biden came into office based on appeals to return to a day gone by. He pledged to restore the “soul of America”. He pledged a return to “bipartisanship”, meaning collaborating with a Republican Party that only exists in Biden’s memory. And today, his faithful allegiance to Israel, come hell or high water, is part and parcel of his determination. It could be his undoing similar to how the Vietnam War was for Lyndon Johnson.
Barely even a day had passed since the bombing of the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza that US president Biden stepped off
the plane in Tel Aviv. Nobody (except the perps) knew who was responsible for this crime, but that did not prevent Biden from greeting war criminal Netanyahu with a big embrace. Nor was Biden deterred by the fact that on the same night as the explosion, al Jazeera reported that the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) “pointed out that there had actually been over 51 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza since the start of the conflict on October 7. Fifteen healthcare workers had been killed and 27 injured.
“The Israeli military itself had issued evacuation orders last week from 22 hospitals treating more than 2,000 patients in the Gaza Strip… A senior health official in Gaza told Al Jazeeera that Israel had fired two artillery shells as a ‘warning’ at al-Ahli Arab Hospital days before the explosion.”
Since his visit, Israel has continued bombing not only northern Gaza, but even the south – the exact area to which they have told Gazans to flee. A day later, CBS news reported that Israel struck near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, killing an entire family, including seven children. Even the doctors in the hospital to which they were brought broke down in tears at this nightmare.
But Biden is plowing ahead. According to reports, he has given Netanyahu private assurances that he will support an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. Make no mistake, this invasion will be part of mass ethnic cleansing. The Times of Israel has reported that Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen has said that “at the end of this war… the territory of Gaza will decrease.” Supposedly he was referring to creating a buffer zone inside Gaza (not on the Israeli side, of course!), but who is to say that Israel’s fascist settlers won’t start to move in there?
Foreign policy establishment worried
The real key is what will happen in Gaza City, and there the US foreign policy establishment is worried. A recent article by Professor Mark Lunch in the premier journal of that establishment, Foreign Affairs, laid it out bluntly. They warned Biden: “this is precisely the time that Washington must be the cooler head and save Israel from itself. The impending invasion of Gaza will be a humanitarian, moral, and strategic catastrophe [with emphasis on “strategic”].” Lynch explains that Israel (in its hubris) had thought they had the population of Gaza well in hand – beaten into line. The route of peaceful protest had been crushed when the Gazan “Great Right of Return” march of 2018 was greeted with a hail of gunfire by Israeli troops at the Gaza/Israel border in 2018.
Lynch continued, “More recently, the steady escalation of Israeli land grabs and military-backed settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank created an angry, mobilized public, one that the United States (i.e. Biden)—and the Israel-backed Palestinian Authority—seemed unable and unwilling to address.”
As for Israel’s evacuation order, Lynch writes that Gazans “believe that Israel’s intention is to carry out another nakba, or “catastrophe”: the forced displacement of Palestinians from Israel during the 1948 war. They do not believe—nor should they believe [emphasis added]—that they will be allowed to return to Gaza after the fighting. This is why the Biden administration’s push for a humanitarian corridor to allow Gazan civilians to flee the fighting is such a uniquely bad idea. To the extent that a humanitarian corridor accomplishes anything, it would be to accelerate the depopulation of Gaza and the creation of a new wave of permanent refugees. It would also, fairly clearly, offer the right-wing extremists in Netanyahu’s government a clear road map for doing the same in Jerusalem and the West Bank.” [emphasis added]
Regarding an invasion, which seems likely, Lynch writes: “Those urging Israel to invade Gaza with maximalist goals are pushing their ally into a strategic and political catastrophe. The potential costs are extraordinarily high, whether counted in Israeli and Palestinian deaths, the likelihood of a protracted quagmire, or mass displacement of Palestinians. The risk of the conflict spreading is also alarmingly large, particularly in the West Bank and Lebanon but potentially far wider. And the potential gains—beyond satisfying demands for revenge—are remarkably low. Not since the American invasion of Iraq has there been such clarity in advance about the fiasco to come.”
And as far as Biden’s support for an invasion, he concludes: “Should Israel’s invasion of Gaza take its most likely course, with all its carnage and escalation, the Biden administration will come to regret its choices.”
Another author in Foreign Affairs, Professor Steven Simon, also urges caution but seems to think that some sort of coalition headed by the U.N. and including different Arab regimes could take over administering Gaza. To this, Reuters reports that a former U.S. Middle East negotiator has said, “I could paint you a picture more appropriate to a galaxy far, far away and not on planet Earth on how you could combine the U.N., the Palestinian Authority, the Saudis, the Egyptians, led by the U.S. marshalling the Europeans, to basically convert Gaza from an open-air prison to something much better.” And a “second regional source” said that in regards to the war spreading, “whatever worst-case scenario you have, it will be worse.”
Meanwhile, we see the first defection from the Biden administration as Josh Paul, who has worked for the U.S. State Department for the last eleven years has publicly resigned in protest of Biden’s unequivocal support for Netanyahu & Co.
Oct. 20 Update: Since this article was published, Huffpost reported a brewing mutiny in the US State Department. Among other things, they report a “crisis in morale” among State Department staffers. This crisis is due to severe disagreement with the position of Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This crisis is bound to come out into the open, and it completely confirms our view.
Signs of Split in Democrats
This early sign of a possible split in the US foreign policy establishment is being accompanied by a developing split in the Democratic Party. Biden has denounced any calls for a cease fire, but recently that is exactly what seven “progressive” Democrats have called for. On Monday they introduced a “Cease Fire Resolution” co-sponsored by eleven Representatives. This includes Barbara Lee, who is running for Senator from California. (The other two Democratic candidates – Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are more in the Biden camp.)
The statement itself is quite weak compared to objective reality, but it is somewhat reminiscent of the split in the Democrats under Lyndon Johnson at the height of the Vietnam War. That split reflected and also accelerated, the radicalization of a whole layer of youth at that time. We cannot rule out such a development today.