Hey Joe, not so fast on that permanent cease-fire

When you’re explaining, you’re losing … and with Joe Biden, there’s always a lot of explaining.

Late yesterday afternoon, Biden’s official X account tweeted out a statement that certainly sounded as though the President had come down on the side of a permanent cease-fire. Biden argued that continuing the war would give Hamas what they seek — and coming as it did in the context of an effort to force Israel into a longer cease-fire, it did not sound coincidental:

Hamas unleashed a terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.
To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing, and war is to give Hamas what they seek.

We can’t do that.

Bear in mind that this tweet appeared only a few hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that the hostage-for-prisoners deal brokers had begun applying pressure to convert the short truces into a complete cease fire and end to hostilities. At the same time, the State Department announced that Antony Blinken would go back to Israel to lecture the government on keeping its operations “consistent with international humanitarian law.” No one has bothered to lecture Hamas on such niceties, even though the IDF routinely operates well within the boundaries of actual law when it comes to warfare.

All in all, this looked like the kind of pressure play that I had predicted for weeks. And in fact, it probably was that kind of pressure play to get Israel to accept the same old “peace” formulas that led to the 10/7 massacres, which itself violated a previous US-brokered “cease fire” with Hamas. Biden’s tweet certainly left the impression that he had caved to Democrat progressives demanding that he either force an end to the war or cut support for Israel.

As the Jewish Insider reported overnight, that’s precisely what progressives read into Biden’s message:

A senior journalist with the Middle East news publication Al-Monitor said Biden “essentially endorse[d] a ceasefire” with the tweet, arguing that he was “reject[ing] ‘path of war.’” One far-left activist called it a “major shift in tone.”

That’s when the White House hit the panic button. After JI asked for an explanation, the White House complained that people took the remark out of context. The tweet was a quote from a longer speech last week, they explained, in which Biden had defended Israel’s right to defend itself:

But a senior Biden administration official told Jewish Insider that the White House’s support for Israel and its military campaign against Hamas remains unwavering, and that “this is not a change in policy,” noting that it came from a longer speech. …

“He meant that we can’t lose hope for peace, ultimately, in the region, that it’s still incredibly important that we continue to lay the groundwork for, and create the conditions for, a lasting peace, and that involves a two-state solution,” the senior administration official told JI on Tuesday night.

And, the official added, the lines that were quoted in the tweet were “a reference to how Hamas does not want peace.” A two-state solution will not be possible with Hamas ruling Gaza, the official noted.

“We want this to be the last war, and we recognize that, for that to happen, Hamas can’t be the governing authority,” the senior official said. “They have to be out of power, because if you have Hamas in power, you’re likely to have another conflict.”

Er .. that is not what the tweet said, even if it came from the longer speech in a different context. This formulation made clear that continuing the war would “give Hamas what they seek,” and that was thing thing Biden said “we can’t do.” If Biden and his team didn’t want to leave that impression, why tweet that specific quote out from last week’s speech — especially as negotiators in Qatar attempt to force Israel into ending the war with Hamas still in place?

That’s another reason why this explanation doesn’t wash. The White House wants to claim now that Hamas can’t be a part of a two-state solution, but how exactly do they plan to keep them out? The Gazans elected Hamas to run their quasi-state and have enthusiastically supported them ever since. The only way to keep Hamas out is to destroy them in war and discredit them among Gazans through a defeat so utter that it disincentivizes terrorism among Palestinians in the future.

By the way, the problem is that this is not a change in policy. Biden wants to pressure Israel into the old status quo ante that preserved Hamas in previous conflicts, especially in 2014. This is the same old formula of allowing Hamas to attack Israel on the ground and through constant bombardment, and then yank the leash on Israel when they attempt to fight the wars that Hamas starts.

The better explanation for last night’s tweet and the White House walkback is that Joe Biden doesn’t give a damn about Israel or the Palestinians. Biden (or whoever runs his Twitter account) wanted to pander to progressives on their cease-fire demands and got way too far out over his skis. The only thing Biden cares about in this arena is restoring Barack Obama’s appeasement effort with Iran as a way to score a foreign-policy success in the short run while leaving US allies in the region to deal with the destruction in the long run. Mainly, Biden cares most about his own political position, which the war risks with the anti-Semitic progressive base he can’t afford to lose next year.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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