On Day 115, Biden’s “constant”-but-compromised response to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians gives a taste of U.S. “leadership” on his watch.
Biden Speaks With Netanyahu, Abbas.
President Joe Biden held phone calls on Saturday with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
In his conversation with Netanyahu, Biden “reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas” and “raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection,” referring to an Israeli airstrike that destroyed a building in Gaza that housed the Associated Press (AP), Al-Jazeera, and other outlets. The Israeli military warned the owner before the strike, and the building was fully evacuated.
A statement released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF said that the building “contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization. The building contained civilian media offices, which the Hamas terror organization hides behind and uses as human shields.”
The AP maintained in a statement that they “actively check” and had no indication Hamas was in the building.
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
In the call with Abbas, Biden “stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel” and “expressed his support for steps to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve. In that regard, he highlighted the recent U.S. decision to resume assistance to the Palestinian people, including economic and humanitarian assistance to benefit Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza.”
The White House maintains that its efforts to hasten a conclusion to the conflict are “constant” behind the scenes, while low-key by design. But the credibility of America’s stance toward Hamas is tarnished as the Biden administration insists that now is the time to re-engage Iran—one of Hamas’ top sponsors—in the 2015 nuclear deal. Additionally, Biden has not yet nominated a U.S. ambassador to Israel or a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian issues.