Neil Weeks

President Biden Plays Politics, With Weapon Shipment

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With President Joe Biden’s announcement to pause the delivery of 3,500 bombs to Israel, he’s walking a fine line between hinging toward his progressive voter base. Who sees him as complicit in war crimes by assisting Israel in its war against Hamas and looking weak and indecisive about his foreign policy.

Since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas, US support has been wishy-washy, at least. As support to bring home the hostages and protect Israel has remained steady, there have been moments of great unity and collaboration, such as the thwarting of an Iranian attack on Israel. One must still ask the question of US support for Israel. It appears to be indecisive and inconsistent about the war in Gaza. President Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu have appeared to be moving in very different directions in regards to how and when Israel should move in the logistics and operations of the war. Often, President Biden has made public statements condemning Israel for not providing enough aid or a lack of protection for Palestinian civilians. While he has made these statements in the past, this has not stopped the flow of money or arms to Israel until this recent decision.

What’s different now?

As the US election moves closer and closer, the reality of Biden’s support is wavering, not only on domestic issues but especially in regards to international affairs. Antisemitism is at an all-time high in the US, with college campuses becoming an unsafe place for Jewish students to study. Biden finds himself in a tough position: holding his support for Israel or trying to look like he’s holding a tough line.

As Israel moves to take the final stronghold in Gaza, in Rafah, President Biden’s argument and concern are the number of casualties that could ensue from such an operation in a highly populated area. While Biden’s concerns might be warranted, he is somewhat creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by choosing to withhold this recent shipment of Israeli arms. This move will not end the war but prolong it, creating the possibility of more casualties on both sides.

Not only does this decision have the possibility of increasing casualties, but it also sends a message about the US to its allies and enemies: that the US is divided and the President will fold under domestic pressure. This is a dangerous and scary posture to hold when you have so many countries not only watching and waiting but really testing US resolve in this situation. President Biden’s choice has made him look weak and unable to make up his mind in regards to this war. This has the potential to seriously hurt US foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond under the Biden administration. This move could ultimately backfire and really bolster the far-right voters that support Trump, who presents a strong stance no matter if there’s agreement or not.

Ultimately, Biden’s current position is one that is dangerous and concerning, and while he seems to change his mind from day to day, he very well could change again, depending on how the operation in Rafah is going and if the possibility of hostage negotiations can reopen. In any case, Israel must and will complete its mission to rid the Gaza Strip of Hamas. This is essential for Israel’s future and, really, the future of the Palestinian people. 

About the Author
Neil Weeks is a political analyst and freelance writer. He’s worked in politics, and as an intelligence analyst. With over a decade of studying and analyzing the MENA region and degrees in International Relations and Conflict Resolution. Neil's passion for Middle East, politics, and Jewish religious ideas has led his research and writing.
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