- Bearing Drift - https://bearingdrift.com -

Biden and Bibi Are Both Getting It Wrong

Half of this post has been ready to go for a few days, since just after I saw Biden’s comments to CNN [1] on why he was holding back lethal offensive aid to Israel.

He said he had conveyed to Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders that American support for operations in population centers was limited.

“I’ve made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet: They’re not going to get our support, if in fact they go on these population centers,” he said.

Later, Biden described warning Netanyahu about the risks of becoming bogged down in Gaza, drawing parallels to the American experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I said to Bibi, ‘Don’t make the same mistake we made in America. We wanted to get bin Laden. We’ll help you get Sinwar,’” he said, referring to the Hamas leader in Gaza. “It made sense to get bin Laden; it made no sense to try and unify Afghanistan. It made no sense in my view to engage in thinking that in Iraq they had a nuclear weapon.”

Simply put, this makes no sense.

Biden and I disagree [2] about the wisdom of engaging in Afghanistan or Iraq. More to the point, however, is that neither war is analogous to what Israel faces in Gaza. Gaza is not half a world away. Sorting out its political future is vital to Israel’s survival. If anything, Bibi Netanyahu has shown he’s too willing to agree with Biden that he shouldn’t care that much about Gaza’s future.

Until Saturday, I was content to simply say that as soon as I could put fingers to keyboard. Then I read the latest from the WaPo [3].

In the north, the Israel Defense Forces ordered residents of Jabalya and Beit Lahia to also evacuate, warning that it would act with “great force” against Hamas [4] militants grouping in those areas.

For the uninitiated, those two towns are in northern Gaza, which was supposed to be free of Hamas months ago. From Bibi on down, every defender of how Israel conducts the war have said it was and is necessary to remove Hamas from power and clear it out of Gaza.

In short, “rubble don’t make trouble” …

… except when it does.

I’m still hesitant [5] to call what Israel is doing in Gaza “genocide,” although I have said and still say Israel should be better at minimizing civilian casualties. Now we know Bibi’s 20th century version of warfare is infinitely worse; it’s  ineffective.

How ineffective? I’ll let The Telegraph answer that one.

The US has warned that a power vacuum in Gaza would be filled by Hamas again [6] amid a resurgence of fighting between the terror group and the IDF.

Fighting broke out in the northern refugee camp of Jabaliya over the weekend, an area thought to have been cleared by Israel late last year.

It comes as Israeli sources warn that Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader, may have evaded Israeli authorities and fled to northern Gaza from the besieged city of Rafah [7].

As fears that many more members of Hamas are once again spreading across the north, Israel said on Saturday it had deployed forces to the city of Jabalya, north of Gaza City.

According to Haaretz, the IDF unofficially claimed that the absence of a clear diplomatic process in conjunction with the fighting and the lack of defined objectives are affecting the military achievements of the war, which has led to the deaths of over 30,000 in Gaza, according to Hamas figures.

The Times of Israel [8] echoed Haaertz‘s report, with more specifics.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi tore into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during security consultations this weekend for the failure to develop and declare a so-called “day after” strategy for who will rule Gaza after the war, according to Channel 13 news.

“We are now operating again in Jabaliya. As long as there isn’t a diplomatic move to develop a governing body in the Strip that isn’t Hamas, we’ll have to act again and again in other places to dismantle Hamas’s infrastructure,” Halevi is quoted as saying by the network. “It will be a Sisyphean task.”

The report says other senior IDF officials urged political leaders to make decisions and formulate a strategy, without naming them. Additionally, cabinet members reportedly warned Netanyahu that Israel’s conduct and lack of decision-making in the past few weeks was “just risking lives.”

That’s just the half of it.

If Biden’s attempt to pause certain weapons shipment knocks Israeli strategy out of 2,000-pound-whack-a-mole and into the modern era, he’ll be doing the right thing (albeit with the wrong reasoning). Otherwise, Both he and Bibi greatly risk making Hamas the only winner in this war.