President Biden has taken a lot of heat from lawmakers in his own party for not being tough enough on Israel for its violence in Gaza and in East Jerusalem this month. Interestingly, my old boss President Ronald Reagan could not be accused of the same, and actually set a precedent for holding Tel Aviv to task, without breaking the special bond between the United States and Israel. It can be done.
President Biden certainly deserves credit for the role he and his administration played in getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the Egyptian-brokered deal that led to a ceasefire in the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. That violence was responsible for killing at least 250 Palestinians, including 63 children, and 12 Israelis, including two children, and injured tens of thousands of people primarily in Gaza. However, by blocking the draft UN Security Council statement that called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and refusing to back legislation sponsored by some 28 Democratic senators to block a $735 million package of precision-guided weapons to Israel, Biden risks undermining the role Washington can play in enhancing long-term prospects for peace in the region.
The above excerpt was originally published in Responsible Statecraft.
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