US Has Been Withholding Intel on Hamas Locations, Tunnels?

AP Photo/Leo Correa

I saw this report, and my jaw dropped. 

The US is trying to bribe Israel into refraining from entering Rafah, offering intelligence on where Hamas leaders are and the locations of secret Hamas tunnels. 


Uh, what? Why haven't we been giving Israel this information freely already? Whose side are we on?

Oh, right. Joe Biden is president, which always means the US is doing the wrong thing. 

The Biden administration has reportedly offered to give Israel “sensitive intelligence” on the whereabouts of senior Hamas leaders if it agrees to hold off on a long-promised major military operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

The Washington Post quoted four unnamed sources as saying that the United States “is offering Israel valuable assistance if it holds back, including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels.”

The Post's story focuses mainly on the efforts to convince Israel to build a tent city for civilians in Rafah to evacuate to before Israel commits its military to destroying Hamas in the city. 

This, itself, is a stupid idea. Not because providing a place for civilians to move to is inherently bad, but because the best way to reduce civilian suffering is to end the war quickly. Every military leader knows that the longer wars go on, the worse things get for civilians. A short, brutal war is always better than a longer, lower-intensity one. 


But the real news in the story is that the carrot the US is using to induce Israel to bend to our will is access to intelligence on the location of Hamas tunnels and leaders

The Biden administration, working urgently to stave off a full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah, is offering Israel valuable assistance in an effort to persuade it to hold back, including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels, according to four people familiar with the U.S. offers.

American officials have also offered to help provide thousands of shelters so Israel can build tent cities — and to help with the construction of delivery systems for food, water and medicine — so that Palestinians evacuated from Rafah can have a habitable place to live, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose secret diplomatic talks.

It is possible, although no better, that the US has been supplying what intelligence we have up to now and that the "offers" here are actually threats to withhold information unless Israel compliss. The US officials who spoke to the Post did say the US has been providing intel throughout the war. 

The United States has provided Israel with intelligence throughout the seven-month war. Senior Biden aides are now seeking to convince Israeli officials that they can destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah with more targeted strikes that the United States can assist, by identifying senior Hamas leaders, rather than a full-scale invasion.


But this interpretation would actually mean the US is offering nothing new, but rather threatening to cut off both military and intelligence aid to Israel at the most critical part of the war. 

Basically, the Biden Administration is saying, "We have been helping Hamas by hiding their assets from Israel," or they are saying, "We will begin helping Hamas if Israel goes into Rafah."

Either explanation stinks to high heaven. Either we have been withholding vital information that would have, among other things, aided Israel in ending the war earlier with fewer casualties, or the US will switch sides in the war by helping Hamas evade Israeli strikes, drawing out the war and resulting in more civilian casualties. 

Mark Milley, who I hate to praise, made the case clearly about the best way to avoid civilian casualties: speed. Civilian casualties are horrific but inevitable in wars, and the US doesn't have clean hands because nobody does. 


Joe Biden has an unerring ability to do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons, helping the wrong people. He has cozied up to Iran as it attacks the US and our allies, and now we see him helping Hamas despite their having committed the most horrible atrocities and promising to commit more. 

Very on-brand. 

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