موقف إدارة بايدن من العدوان الإسرائيلي على غزة: خلفيات الانحياز وحساباته (تقدير موقف)

We publish below a position estimate issued by the Arab Research Center
On the Biden administration’s position on the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip: Backgrounds and calculations of bias:

The administration of US President Joe Biden took a hard-line stance on the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation, which was carried out by the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas,” on the morning of October 7, 2023. It expressed its condemnation of the operation, which it described as “terrorist,” and its full support for Israel. For her “right to self-defense,” and to provide all the assistance she needs. In a speech delivered by Biden, on the 10th of this month, he placed the movement on an equal footing with the “Al-Qaeda” and “Islamic State” organizations, and described it as “absolute evil.” On the other hand, he praised Israel and his close relationship with it, which extends for more than fifty years, while the suffering of the Palestinians as a result of the widespread Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip did not feature in his speech. He pointed out that “Hamas does not defend the right of the Palestinian people to dignity and self-determination.”

Absolute bias towards Israel

From the first hour of the Hamas military operation that targeted Israeli military sites and settlements spread around the Gaza Strip, Biden adopted the Israeli version of the event, including fabricated allegations about Hamas fighters beheading Israeli children, and claimed to have seen photos confirming this. Although the White House itself and some American media outlets, which are no less sympathetic to Israel, retracted those fabricated reports, Biden has not yet apologized for them. When Israel bombed the National Hospital (Baptist) in the Gaza Strip, on October 17, a massacre that left hundreds dead and wounded among Palestinian civilians and patients, Biden and his administration were quick to adopt Israel’s narrative, which claims that the massacre resulted from the fall of a missile launched by the Hamas movement. Islamic jihad.
Biden went further in his support of Israel’s policies. He said that he told Netanyahu in a phone call that if the United States faced such an attack, his response would be “swift, decisive and overwhelming,” which means giving a green light to Israel to continue crimes that amount to genocide against more than 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip. A leaked internal memo from the US State Department confirmed this trend, including a directive to US diplomats to avoid using phrases such as “cease-escalation/ceasefire,” “end violence/bloodshed,” and “restore calm.” Instead, the Biden administration made the “elimination” of Hamas its primary goal, a goal declared by Israel. Biden is the first American president to visit Israel while it is at war, and to meet with the Israeli war cabinet on October 18, making the United States a partner of Israel in its war against the Gaza Strip. The support provided by Washington to Israel came in several areas.

1. Political and diplomatic support
Five days after the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel. To show Washington’s solidarity with it. His tour included Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Egypt, in which he tried to pressure the Arab parties to condemn the Hamas attack, and asked for help in releasing American hostages in the Gaza Strip, as well as demanding that they make efforts to prevent the expansion of the conflict. The US State Department says that 29 Americans were killed in the Hamas operation, and it is believed that the number of American prisoners held by the movement ranges between 12 and 15.
The Biden administration did not refer to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, especially after Israel decided to prevent the entry of water, food, fuel, and medicine into it, and issued a warning to more than 1.1 million Palestinians (almost half of the population of the Strip) that they would be displaced from the north of the Strip to its south, except after pressure exerted by countries. Arab and humanitarian organizations have warned that the sector is on the brink of a real disaster. The Biden administration began coordinating with Egypt and Israel to open the Rafah crossing and bring in humanitarian aid, the first batch of which entered on October 21, with 20 trucks, and the next day 14 trucks, covering less than 5 percent of the necessary needs, noting that the Biden administration It stipulated that Hamas would not receive any of this aid. Since the thirteenth of this month, Biden and members of his administration have begun to point out the need for Israel to respect international law and international humanitarian law. However, this administration still refuses to acknowledge that the brutal bombing operations launched by Israel against the Gaza Strip, which caused thousands of victims, most of them children. And women, displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, and destroyed infrastructure, are considered war crimes. It argues that it is not possible to determine the truth about what is happening in the Gaza Strip because of the “fog of war.”
The Biden administration is working to undermine any international effort calling for establishing a humanitarian truce and allowing humanitarian aid to enter the besieged population of the Gaza Strip. In this context, the United States used its veto in the United Nations Security Council against two draft resolutions, the first submitted by Russia, and the second submitted by Brazil. On the pretext that they do not clearly indicate Israel’s right to defend itself. On the twenty-first of this month, Washington submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council that stipulates “Israel’s right to defend itself,” and demands that Iran stop exporting weapons to “militias and terrorist groups that threaten peace and security throughout the region.” The draft resolution calls for the protection of civilians, including those trying to reach safe areas, notes that states must abide by international law when responding to “terrorist attacks,” and urges “unimpeded delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip.”

2. Military support
As soon as the news of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation spread, Biden ordered emergency military aid to be sent to Israel, which included ammunition and interceptor missiles for the Iron Dome system. He decided to deploy two nuclear aircraft carriers with their battle groups in the region, the first, the USS Gerald R. Ford, which is the most advanced in the US fleet, carries with its combat group more than 5,000 Marines, includes additional US special forces, intelligence gathering equipment, and attack aircraft, and is anchored in the eastern Mediterranean. The second, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, was deployed in the Arabian Gulf, with the aim of sending a message of deterrence to Iran, after initial orders had been issued for it to sail towards the eastern Mediterranean.
The two aircraft carriers give the United States a “strike force” in the region, as they together provide about 80 aircraft with attack capabilities, as well as cruisers, destroyers, and submarines equipped with Tomahawk missiles. They could also help Israel fend off potential Iranian medium-range ballistic missile attacks. Washington says that placing these military assets in the region is aimed at preventing any other party from exploiting the opportunity of Israel engaging in a conflict in the Gaza Strip, and thus opening new regional fronts against it, in reference to Iran and its allies in the region, specifically the Lebanese Hezbollah.
In addition, 2,000 members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit were placed on high alert. This unit is considered a rapid reaction force capable of carrying out special operations, in the event that orders are issued to it to support a large-scale evacuation of American citizens or prisoners held by Palestinian factions. Another group of Marines, numbering more than 4,000, will join the American fleet off the coast of occupied Palestine. The Biden administration denies any intention to deploy these forces on the battlefield.
On October 19, Biden announced that he would ask Congress for $100 billion in aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, in addition to allocations to protect the US border with Mexico. The administration reported that the amount Israel will receive is $14 billion, in addition to what it receives annually; It receives at least $3.8 billion in US military aid. Over the decades, Israel has received more than $154 billion in military aid from the United States. If we take inflation rates into account, the total amount Israel received from the United States in the period 1946-2022 amounts to approximately 245 billion US dollars.

Backgrounds of the absolute American bias towards Israel
A number of reasons explain the absolute bias of Biden and his administration towards Israel, which are:
1. Biden’s personal passion for Zionism and Israel, and he keeps repeating a statement he made decades ago bragging about his Zionism, “You don’t need to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” He always repeats that “if there was no Israel, we would have to invent Israel.” He reiterated these positions in his speech on the 10th of this month, which was the most closely aligned with Israel, and he absolutely adopted its position.
2. Political calculations; The approaching presidential elections next year represents an opportunity for Biden and the Democrats to present themselves as strong supporters of Israel and its security, after years of tension with Netanyahu and his right-wing government, and Republicans exploiting this to accuse them of abandoning Israel, especially in light of the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran. Opinion polls show a decline in Democratic support for Israel, specifically among the progressive wing of the party. Biden’s relations with Netanyahu were marred by great tension, this year in particular, against the backdrop of the latter’s government’s insistence on passing a package of “judicial reform” laws, which caused a sharp Israeli division. Republicans claim that the prisoner exchange deal between Iran and the United States, last month (September), and the conditional release of six billion frozen dollars belonging to Iran, contributed to financing the Hamas operation, although Iran has not received it yet. The Biden administration also found itself in a position of defending its Middle East policy. Some experts held it responsible for what happened on October 7, and considered it evidence of the failure of its approach to the Middle East, which was based on expanding the Abrahamic Accords, initiated by the Donald Trump administration, for normalization between Arab countries and Israel, while ignoring the Palestinians. Critics here cite a statement by the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, on September 29, 2023, in which he praised the administration’s approach to the Middle East, saying: “The Middle East region is calmer today than it was two decades ago.” The existing assumption was that achieving some kind of peace between the Arabs and Israel would force the Palestinians to accept what Israel wants to impose on them, after they find themselves isolated under Arab-Israeli political and economic normalization, while events prove that the suffering of the Palestinians and their legitimate demands cannot be overlooked. With freedom, dignity and independence.
3. The close American-Israeli alliance relationship; The United States views Israel as an advanced base in the region, and it constitutes the cornerstone of its security approach in the Middle East. However, the security and military fragility that Israel appeared to exhibit on the morning of October 7 surprised Washington, shocked it, and shook its confidence in it. In this sense, direct American intervention aims to prevent a possible Israeli collapse if the conflict expands, and the resulting repercussions on American strategic calculations. Since the Biden administration came to the White House declaring that China was the primary “geopolitical challenge” to the United States, and to a lesser extent Russia, it sought to reduce American commitments in the Middle East. To achieve this, this administration attempted to build on the Trump administration’s approach to expanding the scope of Arab-Israeli normalization, especially at the level of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and to build a new regional security structure linked to it, and strengthened it with an economic component, represented by the economic corridor between India and the Middle East. And Europe, which was proposed on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in New Delhi, last month (September), to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In all of this, the Biden administration assumed that Israel would serve as a lever for its Arab allies to offset Iranian influence and capabilities in the region, but this seemed to be crumbling after the recent Hamas attack. This is what prompted the Biden administration to return to the region to enable Israel to restore its image of deterrence, which had suffered a major blow, and to prevent the opening of new fronts against it, which might cause a regional war that Israel may not be able to confront.

Conclusion
The military operation carried out by the Hamas movement and the approach adopted by the Biden administration in confronting it threaten to undermine the American strategy in the Middle East region. The Israeli collapse in the first hours of the operation and the increase in the American military presence in the region, with the aim of deterring Iran and its agents from opening a new front with Israel, if its aggression against Gaza continues, may drag the United States into a regional war that it does not want, as it wants to focus on China’s challenge to it. In addition, the absence of a clear American vision in the region and the tense situation there may destabilize some allied Arab countries, which fear popular protests, in addition to the concerns of Egypt and Jordan that Israel will push the Palestinians into new waves of asylum towards their borders. At the level of Biden’s electoral calculations, his absolute bias towards Israel in its brutal aggression against the Gaza Strip, although it may benefit him in terms of his relationship with the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, may cost him dearly in terms of the support of the progressive movement for him and the youth base in the Democratic Party, as well as votes. Arabs and Muslims are in favorable states, such as Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, and Arizona, and from here, his calculations may turn against him. The position of Biden and his administration, which is excessively biased towards Israel and their disregard for the suffering of the Palestinians, has resulted in resignations and widespread dissatisfaction in the State Department, and this dissatisfaction has expanded to include employees and members of Congress, specifically from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, as well as divisions in society, in universities, and even in American technology companies, and its repercussions have reached Hollywood.


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