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President Joe Biden speaks at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the US Capitol on May 7, 2024.

Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via Reuters

Biden’s “ironclad” support for Israel faces its sternest test

President Joe Biden has what appears to be a political mission impossible: finding a thread that unites the pearls of Democrat support over the war in Gaza.

The Israeli military has started pushing into Rafah, despite US warnings against ground operations. That will exacerbate political strains at home for Biden as he tries to hold together his coalition of forceful progressives, who are critical of Israel, and steadfast moderates, who support the Jewish state.

Eurasia Group US Director Clayton Allen said the decision to delay delivery of some offensive weapons, specifically systems that would be utilized in an expanded offensive in Rafah, while at the same time leaning into his public statements of support for Israel, reinforced the untenable nature of the U.S. position.

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US President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel last October.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Biden’s criticism of Israel overshadowed by military aid

US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week both ripped into Israel over an airstrike that killed World Central Kitchen aid workers, including a dual citizen of the US and Canada. Israel said the strike was a mistake, but its explanation is doing little to quell outrage from Washington and Ottawa.
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US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Greenfield-Thomas addresses a meeting of the Security Council as they consider a US-sponsored resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, on March 22, 2024.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

China and Russia veto US cease-fire resolution for Gaza

Yet another Gaza cease-fire resolution failed in the UN Security Council today – though the US was not responsible for blocking it this time. China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution urging for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war in connection with a hostage deal.

Beijing and Moscow’s ambassadors seemingly took issue with the language of the resolution, contending it didn’t go far enough to demand a cease-fire. The US resolution “sets up conditions for a ceasefire, which is no different from giving a green light to continued killings, which is unacceptable,” said Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN.

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Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz speaks to supporters following the announcement of exit polls in Israel's election at the party's headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel March 3, 2020.

REUTERS/Corinna Kern/

The rivalry dividing Israel’s government

On Monday, Israeli senior government official Benny Gantz met in Washington with Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and lawmakers of both parties. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not happy about it.

Though Gantz now serves in Netanyahu’s coalition government, the two are longtime political rivals, and wartime policy differences have added new strains to their relationship. Gantz has publicly criticized Netanyahu’s conduct of the war, and the prime minister reportedly ordered the Israeli embassy not to participate in Gantz’s Washington meetings. Some of Netanyahu’s allies have publicly accused Gantz of undermining the war effort itself.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defence, in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 17, 2023.


Gaza latest: Bibi unfazed, ceasefire goes nowhere, India in it

Israeli envoy Ron Dermer is in Washington this week for talks about when and how Israel might end its assault on the Gaza strip. International calls for a ceasefire continue to grow, and even the US – Israel’s staunchest ally – has gently warned Israel about the risks of an endless quagmire.

Still, Dermer’s boss, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, seems unfazed, visiting IDF troops in Gaza earlier this week and pledging to continue the assault on Gaza until “victory.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with soldiers as he visits an Israeli army base in Tze'elim, Israel November 7, 2023.


Netanyahu flirts with a lengthy stay in Gaza

Less than two weeks since Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza, it appears that Israeli troops won’t be leaving the coastal enclave anytime soon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday told ABC News that Israel will take “overall security responsibility” for Gaza for an “indefinite period” to prevent further Hamas attacks.

This raises a slew of questions and concerns about Israel’s goal of rooting out Hamas and the potential for sparking even more violence from Hamas and other Iranian proxies. Will this mean a purely military presence, or is it a slippery slope to the return of Israeli settlements in Gaza?

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu attends Arnon Milchan's video testimony


Latest twists and turns in Bibi’s trial

In one of the more damning moments of Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial, Arnon Milchan, a billionaire Hollywood mogul, took to the stand (virtually) on Monday to say his piece.

A longtime friend of the PM, Milchan testified for the prosecution and said that during Bibi’s previous tenure (2007-2016) he sometimes gave gifts to the PM and his wife – most commonly cigars and champagne – in exchange for business and tax favors.

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Explosions light up the sky after the Israeli military struck Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israel prepares for Gaza escalation

Israel is bracing for fierce retaliatory strikes after taking out senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Israeli authorities have told families living in southern border communities to leave their homes, while bomb shelters in central Israel have also been opened.

What’s the trigger this time? Israel conducted air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Tuesday that resulted in the death of three PIJ heavyweights: Khalil Bahtini, the group’s commander for the northern Gaza Strip; Tareq Izzeldeen, the intermediary between PIJ’s Gaza and West Bank factions; and Jehad Ghanam, who headed the military council. Two of the commanders’ wives and children were also killed in the bombing along with other civilians, bringing the death toll to 13. Around 20 others were injured.

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