In the midst of rising tensions surrounding the war in Gaza, Vice President Kamala Harris has reiterated the US's stance, clarifying, “The US is not telling Israel what to do”. The statement comes amid growing speculation over Washington's position on the ongoing conflict.
US's Hands-Off Approach
In a recent CBS interview, Harris emphasized that the United States' involvement is limited to providing advice, equipment, and diplomatic backing to Israel. She firmly quashed any rumors of potential military involvement, asserting, “US troops will not be sent to Israel or Gaza”.
This confirmation from Harris came at a critical juncture when Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced that the nation's conflict with Hamas was entering its “second stage”. While Harris acknowledged Israel's right to defend itself, especially after a harrowing attack where “Hamas slaughtered hundreds of young people at a concert,” she took pains to distinguish between Hamas and the broader Palestinian population.
“It is very important that there be no conflation between Hamas and the Palestinians. The Palestinians deserve equal measures of safety and security, self-determination, and dignity,” Harris added. On the question of whether the conflict might draw the US military into combat, Harris was unequivocal: “We have absolutely no intention nor do we have any plans to send combat troops into Israel or Gaza, period”.
Internal Fractures in the US Administration
The Biden administration's stance on the Israel-Hamas war hasn't been without its critics. A notable departure came last week when State Department official Josh Paul resigned in protest over the administration's policy.
Paul openly criticized both the attack by Hamas and the response from Israel, expressing his concerns in a Linkedin post. He remarked, “Hamas’ attack on Israel was not just a monstrosity; it was a monstrosity of monstrosities”.
However, he deeply questioned the US's unwavering support for Israel, stating, “I believe to the core of my soul that the response Israel is taking... will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people – and is not in the long term American interest”.
As the war in Gaza continues, the US's role and position remain topics of intense scrutiny, both within its borders and globally. The coming weeks will no doubt test the Biden administration's diplomatic prowess as it seeks to navigate these turbulent waters.