Opinion | Biden’s Real Mistake in Pausing Military Aid to Israel

Please log in or register to do it.

Such a speech would begin by making clear that if the U.S.-Israel alliance is under strain today, it’s because Israel has become a radically unstable partner under Netanyahu. He made a failed judicial coup his top priority for his first year in office — not dealing with Iran or the Palestinians. That divided Israeli society and distracted its military, probably tempting Hamas to think the time was right for an attack.

This crazy lurch to the right in Israel, combined with a can’t-win strategy in Gaza combined with the fact that, as Harel wrote, “for almost a decade, Netanyahu purposefully wore down the civil service, weakened it and transferred the centers of power from the gatekeepers in the judiciary, treasury and defense establishment to a small group of incompetent cronies — is hurting not only Israel’s interests but also America’s.

For starters, the United States’ most advanced and vital military partner in the region is now bogged down in Gaza, with no apparent way out, straining American weapon reserves that are also needed by Ukraine. And an endless Gaza war can also destabilize other U.S. allies, particularly Jordan and Egypt.

In addition, the United States is trying to forge a new security alliance with Saudi Arabia that would enable the Saudis to focus on what they most want to focus on right now — their economic development — without having to fear an attack from Iran. To help sell that deal to the American Congress, the Saudis agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel — if Israel would embark on a pathway to a Palestinian state with a reformed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Netanyahu is refusing that condition and now the whole deal is up in the air.

Last, as much damage as Hamas has done to Israel, Israel’s true existential threat is from Iran and its network of allies — Hezbollah, the Houthis, Hamas and Shiite militias in Iraq. On April 13, the United States pulled together an alliance with moderate Arab states, Britain and France to shoot down virtually all 300 of the drones and missiles Iran fired at Israel that night. The more Israel gets mired in Gaza and civilian deaths continue, it will get harder and harder for the moderate Arab states, particularly Jordan, to be seen as defending Israel from Iran.

There is no question that Israel will be better off, Palestinians will be better off and the Middle East will be better off if Hamas is totally defeated. And if it takes Israel going into Rafah to do that, then so be it. Hamas invited this war. Many, many Palestinians in Gaza will feel liberated by its defeat — not only Israelis. But that is if and only if Israel partners with non-Hamas Palestinians to build a better Gaza and create the possibility of a new dawn for Palestinians and Israelis. Biden is justified in using U.S. leverage to insist that Israel operate with that goal in mind — because Israel’s prime minister is not.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email:

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp, X and Threads.

Related Posts
Opinion | Preet Bharara On Why Closing Cases Is a Vital Part of Prosecution

Prosecutors formally advised lawyers for former Vice President Mike Pence this past June that he would not be charged for Read more

In Israel, Christie Says Trump Ducked Mideast Progress and Fueled Bigotry

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who is challenging Donald J. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, said Read more

Military mental health is focus as AI training simulates real conversations to help prevent veteran suicide

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Read more

Opinion | This Photograph of Dead Palestinian Children Demands to Be Seen

If you don’t look too closely you might think the photograph is a dimly lit snapshot from a slumber party Read more

Netanyahu says Biden’s vow to withhold weapons from Israel would result in civilian casualties
Top Maltese politician resigns over charges in high-profile hospital scandal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *