United States President Joe Biden’s continued support for Israel and scathing criticism of Hamas bears no sign of Washington exercising wise diplomacy. Concern for diplomatic moves appears to have been totally abandoned with USA reiterating only “committed” military as well as “diplomatic” support for Israel. Prospects of either Israel or Palestinians winning this decades-old battle may still be viewed as practically non-existent, at least in the near future. Yes, this spells no end to number of lives being lost. But Palestinians have predominantly been at the receiving end of this war. What cannot be missed is the overwhelming support displayed from greater part of the world through demonstrations and also media for peace and for Palestinians. Each time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces his decision to “wipe out Hamas,” it certainly spells inviting criticism of Israel’s war-oriented moves. As reports indicate, Israelis themselves are not pleased by this strategy. They are concerned for their own lives and that of those held hostage by Hamas.
Given that despite all the hype raised about Israel’s military and its intelligent services, the hard fact that this failed to gain any information about October 7 attack of Hamas cannot be ignored. Notwithstanding all the loud claims made by Israeli leaders and their supporters, the truth about Israeli citizens now feeling unsafe and insecure on this land stands out starkly. This is partly suggested by reports about Israelis calling for an end to this war. This only makes Netanyahu’s shrill war cries and “support” voiced by American President Joe Biden appear hollow.
Each Palestinian living in this war-zone has been facing innumerable problems for years. Their life has for long been decided by practically Israeli guns directed at them. Israelis have barely faced such problems prior to October 7. Now, continuity, expansion and intensity of the present war spells greater anguish and more life-threats for Israelis also. Netanyahu cannot guarantee that this phase of war spells only security and peace for Israelis in contrast to death and destruction for Palestinians as well as their groups, including Hamas.
Media coverage gained by Netanyahu and Biden’s support for Israel has not contributed to their succeeding in convincing people in most parts of the world to “accept” their justification for continuity of this war. Rather, the reverse has been the impact. True, certain critics have not failed to note the biased approach of western media as well as US and its allies in favor of Israel. But there is nothing surprising about this. One may recall the manner in which western media supported United States’ role in the so-called “Arab Spring” as a democratic revolution. Now, it is viewed as Arab Winter. US, its allies and western media have now chosen to remain virtually quiet about it.
But yes, the affected countries have not forgotten about it. This is partly marked by some choosing to target US troops in Iraq and Syria in apparent anger against Biden’s support for Israel. This also suggests that cries of children, women and civilians being attacked by Israeli troops, the number of those killed are being echoed all over the world. The increasing number of those killed or injured does not spell “victory” for Netanyahu, his government or United States.
Besides, for how long do Biden and Netanyahu expect this “war-crisis” to continue which, in latter’s speculation, will lead to elimination of Hamas? Here, one may draw attention to Ukraine-crisis. The war doesn’t show any sign of coming to an end soon. But at present, Russia and to a degree China must certainly be pleased about Gaza-war being given much greater priority. Soon, Biden would be occupied with preparations for presidential elections. Even if these elections weren’t around the corner, Biden’s diplomacy is hardly suggestive of his having played a wise role and/or as expected that of a superpower. Rather, democratically and diplomatically, this has certainly sunk in the opinion of many governments as well as people, including those in United States, criticizing Israel and calling for peace.
It is going to take a long time for Israel to re-build its diplomatic ties with countries who have strongly supported Palestine. Besides, the destruction which this war-zone is facing is not likely to spell normal life for majority for a long time. Chances of many Israelis heading for United States as soon as possible cannot be ignored. They probably are scared of facing this anguish again and again. Of course, the same may be said about anguish of Palestinians living here. This time this is more severe than in the recent years. But life has hardly been peaceful and normal for most of them here.
Military and diplomatic support from United States does not legitimize and/or justify war-crimes being promoted by Netanyahu against Palestinians, in the name of targeting Hamas. Rather, this phase has exposed the degree, described in certain sections as genocide, to which Israel can target Palestinians to uproot them from their own homeland. This exposure has also contributed to a new importance being given to what has led to Hamas reach this stage, which has not described as terrorist by those largely sympathetic towards Palestine. So what has Biden gained by supporting Netanyahu in this war. Hardly a winner, at least diplomatically and democratically!
Nilofar Suhrawardy is a senior journalist and writer with specialization in communication studies and nuclear diplomacy. She has come out with several books. These include:– Modi’s Victory, A Lesson for the Congress…? (2019); Arab Spring, Not Just a Mirage! (2019), Image and Substance, Modi’s First Year in Office (2015) and Ayodhya Without the Communal Stamp, In the Name of Indian Secularism (2006).