President Biden’s latest remarks signal a swift change of rhetoric in America’s support of Israel.
Speaking off camera at a re-election campaign fundraiser on Tuesday, American President Joe Biden said that despite having backing from the US and European Union, Israel’s war cabinet is now “starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza.
According to an Al Jazeera news bulletin on Wednesday, Biden was also heavily critical of Israel’s government, saying that some members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration “don’t just not want a two-state solution, they don’t want anything to do with the Palestinians”.
Analysts, such as Vox Senior Foreign Policy Writer, Jonathan Guyer, cited Israel’s incumbent government as being “the most extreme Israeli government in the nation’s history”.
Upon Netanyahu reassuming office in December 2022, Guyer described his administration as “nationalist, exclusionist, and far, far right,” in a January 2023 article.
In 2022, Netanyahu’s Likud party formed a coalition government with the far-right Religious Zionism party to secure a majority in the Knesset.
As part of the coalition government’s guidelines, “The Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right over all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop the settlement of all parts of the Land of Israel — in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan and Judea and Samaria,” Guyer’s article added.
According to a Wednesday Financial Times report, Biden also said during the fundraiser that he is now of the opinion that this outlook has to change in Israel. “I think [Netanyahu] has to change, and with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move,” the report said.
However, Biden’s comments later on Tuesday during an on-camera press conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Washington were notably less condemning.
“I have had conversations with [Netanyahu,] and I want to make sure that we don’t forget what we’re doing here. We have to support Israel,” he said.
He further said that America’s support of Israel was necessary in the wake of what he alleges was Hamas’ campaign of “raping, burning and beheading” Israelis.
Rupture in America’s Israeli alliance
Israel continues to press on with its onslaught of the Gaza Strip, despite growing calls from the Biden administration for the warring party to do more to reduce civilian casualties.
Since October 7, the Ministry of Health in Gaza estimates that as of December 12, 18,205 have been killed amid Israel’s shelling offensive, with 70% of the casualties being women and children, a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs flash update reported on Tuesday.
According to the New York Times, President Biden’s latest remarks against Israel come after Netanyahu defies America’s plan to reinstate Gaza to the Palestinian Authority once the war ends.
As such, conciliatory “well-wishing” between the historic allies could soon be approaching an end, the NYT’s Tuesday report said.
In a statement made on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that while he “appreciates” America’s support of their razing the Gaza Strip, “there are disputes about ‘the day after Hamas’.”
“I will not let Israel repeat the Oslo mistake,” Netanyahu added, alluding to the 1993 and 1995 agreements between Palestine and Israel to officially recognise one another as nation-states and end their decades-long conflict.