Media Celebrates Biden Abandoning 'Certitude' on Israel

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Five weeks into the war, Joe Biden still hasn’t thrown Israel entirely under the bus yet. But as the days grind on and the international pressure increases, they can probably see the wheels approaching in the distance. And Biden’s language has continued to evolve and “soften” in terms of his support for our ally. The Associated Press noticed this evolution in the latest statement from the White House. They describe Biden’s original position as being “unambiguous,” which is fair, at least in public. But they go on to note Biden’s recognition of the “complexities and haunting casualties of the war.” The White House is currently doing plenty to live down to that pessimistic assessment.

In the early days and hours after the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden spoke with stark declarations and unqualified support for the longtime U.S. ally.

Now, a month on, that unambiguous backing has given way to the complexities and haunting casualties of the war, and the Biden administration is imploring Israel to rein in some of its tactics to ease civilian suffering in Gaza.

As condemnation of the conflict has grown around the world, stoking anti-Israel sentiment, the president is also confronting the limits of the U.S. ability to direct the outcome — not only about the war, but what comes after it.

The AP notes that the previous “certitude” from the White House involved discussions of what might need to happen after Israel eliminates Hamas. Now, phrases are creeping into their announcements such as, “If Israel is successful in crippling or eradicating Hamas.” That’s not going to do much to build confidence among Israel or the rest of our allies. We already know that there is no uncertainty in Bibi Netanyahu’s mind. He knows that Hamas must be completely destroyed or the war will have been lost.

There has also been a change noted in terms of America’s position on the future of the region. Even in a world where Hamas is no longer viable, there are still millions of Palestinians that will need to be dealt with. Rather than leaving the matter up to Israel, the Biden White House is increasingly talking about long-range plans and a “new American position” in terms of establishing a lasting peace in the region. That would presumably involve Israel leaving the Gaza Strip almost “immediately” and setting up some form of caretaker Palestinian government, potentially under the Palestinian Authority.

But that’s not what Netanyahu is talking about and the PA has already indicated that they’re not interested in the job. The White House is also growing more critical of Israelis settling in the West Bank, saying that the Palestinians view that as an infringement on their “future state.” That would constitute a major policy change from Israel’s current stance. Israel is expecting our support, not looking to have Washington dictate their own internal policies going forward.

All of this seems very premature. Eradicating Hamas is going to take time and there will be a lot of death and destruction involved in making it happen. Israel needs to know that we will stand strong alongside them no matter how many pro-Hamas protests erupt around the globe. Even after Hamas is history, there are other enemies at Israel’s doors, particularly in the north. Something will need to be done about Hezbollah. America’s role will need to focus more on reining in Iran and cutting off the financial support to the many terror groups they sponsor.  (I don’t expect Joe Biden to move an inch in that direction.) Once all of that is done, assuming it’s possible, perhaps then we can talk about the future of the Palestinians. For now, the top priority must remain the security of Israel and its people.

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