A recent revelation by the American portal, Axios, sheds light on why US President Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of Israel with avowed plans to counter Hamas, consistently worked to delay Israel's impending invasion of the Gaza Strip.
During high-level conversations with American officials, Axios learned that Biden's visit, accompanied by senior members of his administration, to Israel was intended to buy time for the situation in Gaza. This insight underscores a vital point: the Biden administration wants Israel to proceed cautiously, bearing in mind not just their own strategic interests, but also American concerns.
Biden's Strategic Five-Point Concerns
Insightful commentary from Middle East expert Barak Ravid, supplemented by other Axios sources, identified five primary strategic concerns driving Biden's approach: Humanitarian Concerns: Biden desires to extend more aid to the Palestinian population, aiming to alleviate the impending humanitarian crisis and thereby dampen potential global outrage.
Safety of American Citizens: Over 500 American citizens found themselves trapped in Gaza. Attempts to evacuate them before any confrontation with Hamas were unsuccessful, partially due to Hamas' interference. Naturally, Biden's priority was their safety.
Strengthening US Military Presence: The increasing fear that Iran or its affiliated militant groups might target Israel has prompted Biden to emphasize bolstering the US military presence in the Middle East. Buying Time for Netanyahu: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite facing political pressure to act decisively against Hamas, has historically been risk-averse.
Axios sources noted, "Netanyahu...has a somewhat skeptical view of the Israeli military plans — and wants time. So he's entertaining other opinions." His approach is to wait, seeking more time for hostage-release negotiations and allowing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to better gear up for potential ground action.
Lessons from History: Drawing parallels from history, Biden hopes any potential Israeli offensive resembles the situation in Mosul in 2016 rather than Fallujah in 2004. To ensure this, Lt. Gen. James Glynn, who played a pivotal role in Mosul, was sent to guide the Israelis, according to U.S.
officials. Despite the Biden administration's approach, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi expressed his forces' readiness and eagerness to proceed, stressing that they were simply awaiting governmental orders. Echoing this sentiment of strategic partnership and respect, Secretary of State Tony Blinken remarked to American Jewish leaders, "We don't limit Israel or tell it what to do.
We ask the tough questions and give the best advice based on our own experience." As the intricate dance of diplomacy and military strategy unfolds, the global community watches closely, hoping for a resolution that prioritizes peace and stability.