US policy on Gaza is unsustainable - will Biden change course?

Robert Moore on the US' 'unsustainable' policy on Gaza

One hundred and forty-five days ago, President Biden and his national security advisers took a huge gamble. And now it is clear they lost.

The reputational damage to America in many parts of the world, especially with the young generation, will take decades to heal.

Joe Biden believed the best response to the October 7 Hamas massacre was to back Israel to the hilt. He took a series of extraordinary steps that placed the United States fully in Israel's corner, and put no conditions on what Netanyahu and his war cabinet would do in Gaza.

Biden declared himself a Zionist. He flew to Israel and embraced Netanyahu. Above all, on three fateful occasions the president exercised the US veto at the UN Security Council, blocking calls for a ceasefire and giving Israel the green light to continue its assault on Gaza.

Thirty thousands lives later, after the death of 13,000 children, and five months on, there is no sign that the White House is about to change direction.

But the cracks are showing back here in America.

On Tuesday night, over 100,000 Democratic party voters in Michigan, many of them Arab-Americans, showed their fury by refusing to endorse Joe Biden in the state's primary election. They ticked the box for "uncommitted" instead.

The day before the Michigan vote, perhaps to reduce the mutiny from within his own ranks, Biden suggested that a Gaza ceasefire deal was imminent. On Thursday, he said it wasn't so imminent after all.

Then came Thursday's tragedy near Gaza City, in which - in disputed circumstances - IDF soldiers opened fire on Palestinians who were crowding around an aid convoy.

Gaza is in the grip of near-famine conditions, despite stocks of food and a humanitarian logistical network poised just outside its southern entry point. Yet the US still hasn't used its leverage with Israel to force in those supplies.

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There is now talk of the US starting air drops of food and medicines early next week.

But to many humanitarian relief experts that will seem absurd. Air drops are a method of last resort to reach inaccessible populations in remote areas. Gaza is surrounded by US allies, with a major Israeli port just to the north.

Wouldn't air drops be a symbol of American weakness, showing it has no leverage over the very country it funds and arms?

Air drops would also lead to a bizarre spectacle in the skies over Gaza. US-built war planes, operated by the Israeli Air Force, would be dropping US-made bombs and missiles, while at the same time US cargo planes will be dropping food for the victims of those bombs.

That would neatly sum up the contradictions of current American foreign policy.

Every day, at government briefings, spokespeople for the Biden administration tell us that Israel should show greater effort to minimise civilian casualties. But when asked if US weapons supplies might be slowed to Israel until that happens, there is an awkward non-response.

US policy towards Gaza is now unsustainable.

Increasing numbers of people in Washington, including Democratic senators, are saying that out loud.

The question is whether Biden and his advisers will be forced to change course, or whether they are too proud to acknowledge they have played a part in the humanitarian catastrophe that has enveloped Gaza.

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