Despite ceasefire abstention, U.S. weapons continue to flow to Israel

Does the United States’ abstention from voting on the UN ceasefire resolution mean that the United States has adopted a completely different attitude towards ceasefire? Gaza The Biden administration’s war lasted just four days.

United Nations security council resolutions Demands for an immediate ceasefire, release of hostages and large-scale food aid were adopted last Monday. By Friday, The Washington Post reports The United States has recently shipped billions of dollars worth of bombs and aircraft to Israel.

The only hesitation was a several-day delay in approving 1,800 MK-84 2,000-pound (907-kilogram) bombs, which can level an apartment building and leave a crater 11 meters deep, according to sources familiar with the process.

This is a weapon of destruction Reportedly used frequently The Israeli air force has played a major role in killing some 33,000 people in Gaza since October.

According to sources, the arms pipeline from the United States to the United States is worth nearly $4 billion every year. Israel The continued uninterrupted flow has prompted a backlash from critics, who point to the irony of the Biden administration urging a ceasefire and providing food aid to Gaza while simultaneously providing weapons that are fueling the war and humanitarian crisis.

“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on someone’s little finger cut while you continue to stab them in the chest,” said Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American peace activist.

As a catastrophic famine begins to spread in Gaza, government officials are faced with questions almost daily about why the United States does not condition continued military aid on changing Israel’s behavior to limit civilian deaths and significantly expand the scope of aid.

The usual response is that while urging Israel to do more to protect civilians in Gaza, the U.S. government should not take any action to limit Israel’s ability to defend itself, a litmus test of Israel’s ability to defend itself. us foreign policy for more than half a century.

Various Democrats, whether or not they support the current policy, say it is highly unlikely that the Biden administration will change course on weapons supplies for policy and political reasons.

“He’s not going to do that. He fundamentally believes that Israel has the right to defend itself, and he believes that in his heart,” one of the president’s former senior Biden administration officials said, adding: “I think there’s zero chance of that. .”

Joe Biden’s personal sense of commitment to Israel, cemented by decades of close engagement with Israeli leaders, is a big reason why his administration is so resistant to change.

“Biden sees himself as part of the Israel story, and he’s been part of it for so long,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East negotiator now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. explain.

Miller said the key moment to watch is May 8, when the U.S. State Department will issue a formal report on Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law.

“I would be shocked if the administration decided that Israel was not in compliance — in large part because Gaza is not the only problem,” Miller said.

Administration officials point to the success of U.S. diplomacy in not triggering a major new war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah so far, but constant exchange of fire The clashes over Israel’s northern border are a reminder that the threat continues to worsen. Most observers expect large-scale conflict within a year.

Hezbollah will pose a more serious military challenge than Hamas, which is said to have more than 100,000 missiles and rockets.

“If you start adjusting the weapons, it will be seen as a very strong message to the international community that the United States no longer supports Israel,” the former senior official said.

“Hamas is the least of Israel’s problems. Imposing conditions on the weapons would send a message to Hezbollah, the Iranians, the Syrians and the Houthis, who are looking around to try to see if they can divide Israel.”

The Biden administration also believes that strings attached will have no impact on Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, which has energized its core supporters by defending Washington.

“Israelis going to simply roll over and say: Let’s give up? I don’t believe it,” Miller said. “This is not just Netanyahu’s problem. The entire government and the public are not prioritizing the delivery of aid.” They are not suffering. Horrible humanitarian disaster in Gaza. “

Political observers say the Israeli government will not just ignore U.S. signals. Netanyahu will go further, most likely seeking common goals with the Republicans from the U.S. and suggesting Biden has betrayed Israel in the face of terrorism.

Netanyahu did the same thing to Barack Obama in 2015, when Republicans invited him to address a joint session of Congress. Current Speaker Michael Johnson said he plans to invite Netanyahu again at the height of an election year in which the Israeli leader is clearly backing Donald Trump.

Domestically, Biden’s material support for Israel alienates Arab Americans, other minorities, and young, progressive Democrats, thereby jeopardizing at least his prospects of winning the key swing state of Michigan and potentially the entire election. election.

A U-turn on policy now is no guarantee of winning those votes and could alienate otherwise pro-Israel parts of the Democratic coalition.

“There is a very powerful group within the Democratic voting coalition, primarily American Jews, who want a different government in Israel but are still committed to supporting Israel,” said Henry Olson, senior fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy.

The last president to threaten to block arms supplies to Israel was Republican Ronald Reagan, and the last Democratic president to seriously alienate Jewish Americans in his own party was Jimmy Carter, who in 1979 authorized an agreement with the Palestinian Liberation The organization made secret contacts and paid to be elected. The following year, Price lost the 1980 election.

“There are a lot of key states, like Pennsylvania or Arizona, that have small but significant Jewish constituencies,” Olson said.

Progressive Democrats argue that the scale of the humanitarian disaster, and the implications of possible U.S. involvement, make such traditional political calculations obsolete. They said the scale of the tragedy made the unimaginable possible.

“I think President Biden has a lot of hawks around him who are deeply aligned with the right-wing lobby at Aipac. [American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main Israeli lobby in the US]”He should be aligned with the voters who got him elected in the first place,” said Usamah Andrabi, communications director for Justice Democrats.

Andrabi added: “At some point the government and our party have to ask themselves, what are we willing to be a part of?”

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