Should Israel listen to the United States during the war between Israel and Hamas?

On October 10, 2023, just three days after the Hamas massacre and the outbreak of war in Gaza, US President Joe Biden delivered a seminal speech denouncing the atrocities, expressing sincere sympathy for Israel and the Jewish people, and pledging to continue to support the movement. Jewish state.

Biden’s speech will be remembered for his “Don’t” words to any country, organization or person considering taking advantage of the situation. This warning was aimed primarily at Iran and its proxies and was accompanied by the dispatch of naval forces to the Eastern Mediterranean to deter any entity from joining the war against Israel.

However, a careful reading of Washington’s messages during the ensuing conflict implies that some of the “don’t” messages were also aimed at Israel. It began in Biden’s October 10 speech, which included a subtle reference to the laws of war, saying “Don’t do this” to Israel in reference to using its military power in a way that would result in numerous civilian casualties. Yet given the circumstances, where terrorists use residential areas, hospitals and schools as command posts, launch sites for their rockets and warehouses for their munitions stockpiles, how could Israel fight Hamas without risking destruction? life of civilians? No other solution was offered, neither in Biden’s speech nor elsewhere.

Since November, the Biden administration has continued to increase its criticism of Israel, accused of not having paid enough attention to the evolution of the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others have consistently called for a ceasefire. In doing so, they signaled to Israel: “Do not overthrow the Hamas regime” – since a ceasefire would surely have allowed Hamas to maintain its hold on Gaza.

As the IDF continued its efforts to crush Hamas forces in Gaza City and Khan Yunes, Biden offered another “Don’t,” this time: “Do not enter Rafah.” Israel wasted three months trying to adapt to this “no” until it could wait no longer. Now that the IDF operates in Rafah, we know what a terrible mistake it would have been not to enter this wasp’s nest of terror, which hides dozens of tunnels that served for years to supply Hamas with weapons and ammunition.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, October 18, 2023. (credit: Miriam Alster/ Pool via REUTERS //File photo)

RECENTLY THE slogan “all eyes on Rafah” has become “all eyes on the North” and once again the Biden administration has had a “don’t” for Israel. This time, it was Blinken who met with Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer on Thursday, telling them to avoid further escalation with Hezbollah in order to allow the return of Lebanese and Israeli citizens in their homes. Thus, he was telling Israel not to go to war against Lebanon, although this is fully justified given Hezbollah’s continued aggression and violation of Israel’s sovereignty. And, icing on the cake, Blinken’s statement also implies a false symmetry between the parties, as if they were both responsible for the war of attrition that Hezbollah launched against Israel on October 8. How else could Israel eliminate the threat to its northern territory? border and ensure the safe return of its citizens to their homes in the North? By waiting another eight months for an illusory and unobtainable diplomatic solution? Or perhaps by convincing its citizens that the guys looking at them through binoculars from across the border are peace-loving activists?

What should Israel do regarding Biden’s recommendations?

The United States has been and continues to be a friend of Israel, as has President Biden. But American and Israeli interests are not necessarily identical. In fact, they are quite different. So while the Jewish State must always listen carefully and respectfully to its American friends and do its best to align with American policies and strategies, ultimately Israel must do what is best for Israel.

The writer is a professor and former executive vice president of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. An expert in management sciences, he serves on the boards of several Israeli companies and non-profit organizations.

Leave a Reply

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