June 25, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Biden's response to Netanyahu means that the American-Israeli relationship has changed forever

Biden's response to Netanyahu means that the American-Israeli relationship has changed forever

It has been less than 24 hours since President Joe Biden bluntly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that there would be consequences if the Israeli military did not take steps to protect Palestinian civilians and aid workers. It seems that Mr. Netanyahu has noticed this.

According to White House officials, Biden used the conversation to vent months of growing frustration with the Israeli leader. Netanyahu's stubborn refusal to protect Palestinian civilians and the Israeli military's callous disregard for the safety of those trying to provide those same civilians with food and medical care have caused panic in the White House. The death of seven aid workers who were delivering food to hungry civilians for the non-profit World Central Kitchen in three targeted air strikes was the straw that broke the camel's back.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that Biden had made it clear that “the absence of changes in protecting civilians on the ground, the absence of changes in the amount of humanitarian aid arriving, the absence of any movement on a ceasefire that would allow the hostages to exit.” “The exit and entry of more aid, the absence of… a calm, as he will have to reconsider his political options regarding Gaza.”

“If there are no changes to [Israeli] “Politics and their methods, so there has to be changes in our policy,” Kirby added.

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One of the Biden aides who spoke to him The Independent He said, on condition of anonymity, that the president was eager to push Netanyahu to make changes after speaking with José Andrés, the Washington-based celebrity chef who founded World Central Kitchen. The aide added that Biden considers Andres a personal friend.

For years, Netanyahu has operated with impunity when it comes to how his country deals with the Palestinians, confident that he has the almost unconditional support of American leaders. It's no secret that being considered “anti-Israel” in the American political system can be the kiss of death. Republicans in particular have sought to make support for Israel a partisan issue.

This is partly because of that toxic dynamic that has hampered Biden's ability to push Netanyahu to change course.

But the president may no longer be helpless.

Within hours of the phone call between the US President and the Israeli Prime Minister, Israeli officials announced the opening of another land crossing into northern Gaza. This opening should allow aid to flow into a conflict zone that has been on the verge of famine for weeks.

In addition, early Friday, the IDF released the results of a preliminary investigation into how its highly trained, professional soldiers fired three separate missiles at three vehicles bearing the Global Central Kitchen logo. It concluded that the “serious error” that killed the aid workers was “a critical failure due to mistaken identity, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to standard operating procedures.”

Admiral Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters at a news conference late Thursday that the attack on the aid convoy was a “tragedy” and “a serious event for which we are responsible.” He reiterated that this “should not have happened.”

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The Israeli military said military prosecutors would evaluate whether anyone involved in the attacks should face a military trial. It will also evaluate whether the two officers who were fired as a result of their involvement in the strikes will be reassigned or dismissed from service.

Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, told reporters on Friday that the actions taken by Israel over the past 24 hours were a good start. But he stressed that the United States is still in a wait-and-see mode when it comes to evaluating Israel's response to Biden's demands.

He repeatedly refused to give his opinion on the substance of the Israeli investigation and said it was under review by American officials.

“What really matters to us… is that these changes are achievable, that they are sustainable, and that the appropriate steps are taken to ensure that something like the strike that happened to Global Central Kitchen a few days ago can be effective.” “It won't happen again,” he said. “So we will be looking in terms of strike action to make sure they are doing everything they can to prevent another mistake like this.”

Kirby also told reporters that the United States is watching to see if commitments Israel has made toward increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza remain “sustainable.”

Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, said he was not yet satisfied with the Israel-led report and called for an outside investigation. He may get one, depending on how the Biden administration views the Israeli investigation, conducted by the country's equivalent of an independent inspector general.

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The Netanyahu government may follow through on its commitments, which means, in theory, that Biden would have no reason to change any policy toward Israel or Gaza. But just because there has been no policy change does not mean there has been no change at all.

It is no longer taboo for an American president to think about linking defense aid to Israel's behavior on the battlefield.

Even if it doesn't, the fact that it can now be discussed openly in the White House may be the biggest change to come out of this war.