Biden’s support for Israel now has words of caution

Defending the Second Amendment in New York and the Middle East: a spokesman for the anti-Israel lobbying group AIPAC

Ms. Lee said Jews were “10 percent of our district, but we also have Muslim, Arab, Palestinian constituents who are afraid for their families and their lives.”

In the northern suburbs of New York, George Latimer, the Westchester County executive, is thinking about a challenge to RepresentativeJamaal Bowman, who defeated the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2020.

And progressive organizations are girding for possible challenges to Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and others, funded from the deep pockets of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.

The spokesman for the Justice Democrats said that the group spent a historic amount of money to try and influence primaries in the future, and that progressives were on the target list. I think we will see a doubling and tripling down, because no one in the leadership of the Democrats is trying to stop them.

“There will be a time for political action, but right now our priority is building and sustaining congressional support for Israel’s fight to permanently dismantle Hamas,” said the group’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann.

The jabs have begun. Responding to a post by Mr. Bowman extolling his “Ceasefire Now” resolution, the lobbying group called it “a transparent ploy to paint Israel as the aggressor and allow Hamas to control Gaza.” Hitting Ms. Lee, AIPAC wrote on X, “Emboldening a group that massacres Israelis and uses Palestinians as human shields will never achieve peace.”

Waleed Shahid, a former leader of Justice Democrats, predicted that the current environment, in which leaders of both parties, including President Biden, are aligned with Israeli leadership and the Palestinian cause is represented by protesters in the streets and on college campuses, would yield a trove of fund-raising for pro-Israel groups ahead of 2024. He suggested that there may be an “asymmetrical” fight during the primaries.

We have a post-9-11 environment where there is a lot of fear to speak out against war and there could be electoral consequences for not lining up for the cause of war.

Administration officials said the shift in tone and substance was the result of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where the health ministry says more than 8,000 people have been killed, provoking outrage in the United States and around the world.

He added, “This is something that we talk about with the Israelis on a daily basis.” He then noted that hospitals were not legitimate military targets just as Israel was warning that another major hospital in Gaza had to be emptied out before the next round of bombing.

It was clear from the start, in the earliest hours after Hamas slaughtered and kidnapped Israeli civilians, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had no mercy in mind for Gaza. He said that they would turn the places Hamas was hiding and operating in into rubble.

“I told him if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive and overwhelming,” Mr. Biden recalled saying during a call between the two leaders on Oct. 10.

But the president’s message, in which he emphatically joined the mourning that was sweeping through Israel, has shifted dramatically over the past three weeks. While Biden still proclaims unambiguous support for Israel, he and his military and diplomatic officials have become less enthusiastic about Israel’s response to the terrorist attacks and the humanitarian crisis.

It seemed like it at the time. I had just arrived as a correspondent in Israel, and an aura of hope still hung over the pair of agreements signed in 1993 and 1995, which granted the Palestinians a degree of self-government and, more important, started a peace process meant to reach a permanent settlement within five years. The handshake between the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, and the leader of Israel, Yitzchok Rabin, took place in 1993 on the White House lawn.

But in the short run, American officials have grown more strident in reminding the Israelis that even if Hamas terrorists are deliberately intermingling with civilians, operations must be tailored to avoid nonmilitary casualties. Last week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said at the United Nations that humanitarian pauses must be considered.

“While Israel has the right — indeed, the obligation — to defend itself, the way it does so matters,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that “it means food, water, medicine and other essential humanitarian assistance must be able to flow into Gaza and to the people who need them.”

On Sunday, just a day after Israeli military leaders said Hamas terrorists were using a hospital in Gaza as a command center, Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, was more blunt. Mr. Sullivan commented on the situation on CBS, saying Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields was an added burden for the Israeli Defense Force.

We give Israel money to pay for the weapons. Palestinians receive money to pay for damage caused by those weapons. The violence just gets worse as we keep doing the same things.

The cycle spins around, waiting for the right time… but what does it need to come up? A game that’s always going to happen, but at least it will happen

And here we are, watching the cycle spin around again, pretending to think it might have a different result this time. It is a game that is not impossible and just a game with unbelievable odds.

Source: Opinion | I’ve Been Under Bombardment. [There Must Be a Cease-Fire in Gaza](

Is There a Cease-Fire in Gaza? The fate of Israel in the twenty-five years since Israel became a U.S. citizen

An editor tried to convince me that it wasn’t a good idea. “You’re a writer, and you like to choose pretty words,” the editor said. You can not use the pretty words in Jerusalem. You have to use the careful words.” The editor was correct. Writing about Israel is full of careful words and careless killing. We nitpick every last point until no reader can decipher what we’re saying anymore. The death tolls are not true according to us. How do we know? Things are happening — what things? We could find out with a cease-fire, but they say we can’t ask for a cease-fire.

People around me and within my mind felt the rage against the nation that had killed such a huge number of people, from a distance.

It is easier to tell yourself that the killing of their children is unavoidable if you know that the country is righteous in its pursuit of self-defense.

We should have learned this lesson many times as Americans. All the military might of the United States could not defeat the ragtag bands of Taliban or force a nation of conquered Iraqis to accept a U.S. occupation. Maybe we don’t want to comprehend.

Source: Opinion | I’ve Been Under Bombardment. There Must Be a Cease-Fire in Gaza.

The Last Days of Israeli War: How Israel has Defended the Nightmare Attack on Gaza, and Why Israel Has Come to an End

It is one of the scariest things that can happen to you: If you get bombed from the sky it will feel like death hangs over your head until it is too late. Maybe this is the moment. This or something like that. Or this. Your heartbeat hits through your skull.

I’ve watched U.S. warplanes attack Afghanistan; barely escaped a direct strike from a Russian MiG in Georgia, and lived for weeks under relentless Israeli bombardment in Lebanon.

White House officials have said a cease-fire only benefits Hamas; that even to ask for the bombing to stop is “disgraceful” and “repugnant.” I find myself thinking that, had these officials ever experienced even one day under bombardment and shelling, they could not so blithely, so unambiguously, defend this nightmarish attack on Gaza.

Israel has so far killed more than 8,000 people, the Gaza Health Ministry said, more than 40 percent of them children. Even after President Biden expressed doubt about the true extent of casualties, the ministry released a list of dead people and their family members.

The assault on Gaza was driven first by straightforward vengeance by the Israeli political and military leadership.

The residents of Gaza have been warned by the Israeli Defense Forces that they will be subjected to hell.

Generations of Palestinians have experienced the political grievances of an open-ended military occupation. They have no state to call their own, their basic rights are systematically curtailed and the world has given them little reason to anticipate better days. Palestinian political violence is older than Hamas, extends beyond Hamas across society, and will surely outlive Hamas in the absence of a political solution.

This is something Israel knows. Israel has bombed Gaza before, but Hamas is still there. Israel turned parts of southern Lebanon to rubble, but Hezbollah is still there.

However it plays out, the root of the problem identified by the Palestinians and Israelis in what is still the closest they have come to an accommodation remains the same: the Palestinians will gain freedom only when Israelis find acceptance and security, and Israelis will achieve that “bitahon,” the broad Hebrew term for security that so pervades Israel’s consciousness, only when the Palestinians have sovereignty over their lives.

Arafat was isolated in his Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by Israeli forces, two years before he died of a sudden ailment, leaving the Palestinian Authority in the hands of Abbas, an aging leader who lost control over Gaza in 2007. That prompted an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the densely populated enclave, leaving its 2.1 million residents, the majority of them refugees or descendants of refugees driven from their homes after the creation of Israel in 1948, in ever worsening conditions.

In his book, “The Process,” Israeli Principal Israeli Negotiating Team during the 1980’s, wrote about an exchange he had with the Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief Palestinian negotiator, Abu Ala, and how he believed we had reached the root of the problem. “We have learned that our rejection of you will not bring us freedom. You can see that your control of us will not bring you security. We have to live side by side in peace, equality and cooperation. Mr. Savir and Mr. Qurei emerged close friends from the negotiations. Mr. Qurei died in February, and Mr. Savir passed away last year.

The wisdom of Oslo is a credit to the negotiators, who came to recognize the validity of each other’s guiding narratives: of Israel’s return to a promised land after an unspeakable tragedy; and of the Palestinians’ dispossession and humiliating occupation. These narratives could not necessarily be reconciled, but the negotiators were able to escape the zero-sum feuding over who was in the right and acknowledge the other’s yearnings, history and grievances.

The handshake of 30 years ago has become almost a sad footnote in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of the carnage in Israel and Gaza. The hopes raised by the agreements still hold relevance according to me.

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