Biden Threatens To Withhold Aide From Israel After Invasion

By Victor Winston, updated on March 12, 2024

Politico reported that President Joe Biden's contemplation of conditioning military aid to Israel signals a potentially transformative period in U.S.-Israel relations amidst escalating concerns over a proposed invasion of Rafah.

At the heart of this development is President Biden's growing discomfort with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war strategies against Hamas, particularly an aggressive approach that could result in substantial Palestinian civilian casualties. This stance from the President reflects a nuanced understanding of the geopolitical landscape, which prioritizes human life and seeks to prevent further worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The dialogue between the United States and Israel, traditionally characterized by unwavering support, seems to be undergoing a critical reassessment. Biden, who has always maintained a stance favoring diplomatic solutions, is now signaling a shift that could reshape the military dynamics between the two nations.

A New Approach to Old Alliances

Diplomatic efforts spearheaded by the Biden administration aim to influence Israel's military decisions. Nevertheless, these efforts' specifics and effectiveness remain under wraps, as national security and White House representatives express reluctance towards speculative discussions or the designation of "red line" thresholds.

This situation is further complicated by Netanyahu's firm stance on military action, as seen in his commitment to preventing a repeat of the October 7 Hamas attack. Netanyahu's assertive policies and responses have stirred unease, prompting Biden to question the implications for Israel's image and its future.

Navigating the political landscape requires a delicate balance. The United States' historical practice of conditioning aid to influence foreign policy introduces a precedent, but the dynamics of this specific circumstance present unique challenges.

The Humanitarian Perspective in Conflict

One of the most stirring comments comes from President Biden himself, emphasizing the unacceptable prospect of significant Palestinian casualties. "You cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead," he articulated, highlighting a universal red line that transcends geopolitical strategy.

Shanna Kirschner, who teaches Middle Eastern politics at Allegheny College, pointed out that previous administrations, Republicans included, have tied aid to Israel to policy differences. She stated that if the current situation persists, and at the present rate, then aid conditioning becomes a consideration that must be taken seriously.

This statement, coupled with Biden's critique of Netanyahu's tactics, illustrates the pressing need for a change in approach. According to Aaron David Miller, improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza is contingent upon cooperation and coordination with the Israeli government. Yet, the current trajectory suggests a challenging path ahead.

American policymakers, like Shanna Kirschner, stress the importance of considering past instances where aid conditioning has been employed. However, the complexity of the Israel-Palestine conflict demands innovative thinking and adaptable strategies.

Seeking a Path Forward

The international community watches closely as the Biden administration continues to articulate its concerns and preferences. The potential for a large-scale invasion of Rafah looms, carrying with it the possibility of altering the course of U.S.-Israel relations.

Dialogue and diplomacy stand as pillars of Biden's approach to foreign policy. With Netanyahu at a crossroads and Biden advocating for restraint, the coming months are critical in determining the future trajectory of the Gaza conflict.

The crux of the matter remains clear: Biden is willing to reconsider the terms of military aid to Israel in pursuit of a broader objective that includes safeguarding civilian lives and steering the Middle East towards a more stable and peaceful future. As discussions evolve and decisions loom, the international community remains hopeful for a resolution that spares further loss and suffering.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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