Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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The Biden Factor In Israel’s War With Hamas

A world-shaking catastrophe like the attack by Hamas on Israel is never the result of just one cause. The truth is there are a dozen different factors that can and must be accounted for when determining what led to this attack. From the intelligence failures, to the false sense of security of the Iron Dome, going all the way back to the disengagement of Gaza in 2005—shares of blame can be assigned to each one.

Another one of those factors is the policy of the Biden administration. It would be foolish to assign all blame to Joe Biden, but naive to assign none.

Biden was well known for his foreign policy incompetence long before he won the presidency. He began his term with a basic principle: undo whatever Donald Trump did. It did not matter to Biden whether the Trump policy was good or bad—if Trump did it, he must undo it. This affected a wide range of domestic policies, but several key foreign ones as well.

In April 2021, Biden gave $235 million to Palestinians, either directly or through UNRWA, the United Nations agency tasked with resettling Palestinian refugees. A little over a year later, Biden announced another $316 million. Not only was this action foolish, it violated the Taylor Force Act, a 2018 law signed by Trump which forbids U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority when as long as it funds pay-to-slay programs. Almost 40 members of Congress sent a letter requesting an answer about the usage of these funds to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

What happened to these funds? They were intended in part to go to Gaza for humanitarian purposes, yet we know that for nearly two decades Hamas has taken funds such as these and used them to build out its terror network. Concrete meant for schools was used instead to construct tunnels into civilian population centers. This was part of the reason Trump canceled the aid in 2018. Biden signaled to Hamas that U.S. dollars are readily available, no strings attached.

Biden didn’t just give the Palestinian Authority money, he granted it greater legitimacy in the eyes on the American government—legitimacy that Trump had removed. He reopened the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, which was at one point a consulate in Jerusalem focused on pushing for a Palestinian state. Trump closed it in 2018 when he moved the Embassy to Jerusalem and folded the responsibilities together. Biden’s separation of those responsibilities validated the Palestinian Authority in the eyes of Hamas. That same Office of Palestinian Affairs was forced to delete its “all sides” post on X (formerly Twitter). “We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks,” the office said as Hamas was kidnapping and murdering women at a music festival. It had clearly assumed this would be the State Department’s message, because that was the policy Biden has regarding Israel.

Hamas also saw how Biden handled Afghanistan. Biden not only left Afghan allies and American citizens behind, he left behind over $7 billion in weaponry and equipment. His cowardly retreat from Afghanistan made America look weak, and a weak America means an unstable globe. Those weapons were seized by the Taliban and sold by agents like the one that Biden traded to Russia for a WNBA basketball player. In January, NBC reported that those weapons were being used by militants in Kashmir. Israel expressed concerns in June that Iran had gotten hold of some of those weapons. Now there are reports that American weapons and equipment fell into the hands of Hamas and were being used against America’s greatest regional ally to capture and kill civilians.

Biden signaled his neglect for Israeli security in the way he approached a potential peace between Israel and her neighbors. The Abraham Accords were able to achieve a historic agreement between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. This was achieved when the Trump team, led by Jared Kushner, realized a simple truth—you don’t need to solve the Palestinian conflict to gain peace. Biden ignored that fact, and it is a primary reason Saudi Arabia has yet to sign on. As recently as last week, 20 Senate Democrats demanded that the U.S. not back any peace agreement between Israel and the Saudis unless Israel were to make massive concessions to the Palestinians—for literally no reason. The Palestinians see this demand and think that in a conflict, America will side with them.

They also see the outright contempt with which Biden treats Bibi Netanyahu. Following the pattern set by Barack Obama, who once famously complained to French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he has to “deal with [Netanyahu] every day,” Biden has shown Bibi nothing but disrespect since coming into office. Normally a new president calls allies within a few days of his inauguration. It took over three weeks for Biden to call Netanyahu. Then, when Netanyahu regained control of the Knesset, Biden initially refused to invite him to the White House, opting instead to invite President Isaac Herzog. This pattern of disrespect did not go unnoticed.

Then, of course, there is the Iran of it all. This Hamas attack was backed by Iran, the same terror-sponsoring state Biden just gave $6 billion. This is the same Iran that chants “Death to America, Death to Israel” and that Biden is desperate to negotiate with in hope of reentering the infamous nuclear deal (a deal, it should be noted, that has no penalties for funding terrorism). While Biden’s spokespeople are proclaiming far and wide that the money released to Iran can only be used for “humanitarian purposes,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi specifically said to Lester Holt that the money will be used “wherever we need it.”

Each of these may seem insignificant in a vacuum, but together they paint a broad picture for Hamas of what they can expect from Biden. The president is beholden to a left flank of Democrats that includes Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and others who blame Israel for these attacks and demand deescalation while hostages are held in Gaza. That was not an insignificant factor in Hamas’ calculation to move forward with this attack. It’s also something that Americans must reconcile with ahead of the 2024 election.

Moshe Hill is a political columnist and analyst. His work can be found on www.aHillwithaView.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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