Creating new perspectives since 2009

US frustrated by Israeli campaign seen as vengeful rather than purposeful

November 7, 2023 at 3:11 pm

An Israeli soldier works on a tank on November 7, 2023 [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]

The administration of US President Joe Biden harbours deep concerns about Israel’s bombing of Gaza and has warned of the repercussions in private meetings with Tel Aviv.

According to the Washington Post, US officials say that Israel’s counterattack against Hamas has been too severe, too costly in civilian casualties, and lacking a coherent endgame, but they are unable to exert significant influence on America’s closest ally in the Middle East to change its course.

Critics have argued that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is rooted more in vengeance than achievable military objectives. Despite Israeli claims that heavy bombing of the densely populated territory is necessary to eliminate Hamas, Biden officials are said to be sceptical that the onslaught will achieve anything beyond further escalation.

White House administration sources say that they have pressed Israel to consider proportionality urgently, avoid civilian casualties, enact humanitarian pauses and clarify its end goals. All such suggestions have been dismissed or rejected by the apartheid state.

Internally, the Biden team views Israeli actions such as the bombing of crowded refugee camps and hospitals as unjustifiable. While publicly affirming Israel’s right to self-defence, Biden has privately urged Israeli leaders not to give in to rage and vindictiveness.

READ: 100 Israel doctors calls for bombing Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza

The US president has also urged Israelis not to be consumed by rage and not to repeat what he calls US mistakes after the 11 September, 2001, terrorist attacks. Several US officials said that they believe that they can deliver difficult messages more effectively to Israel in private but Washington seems unable to influence its closest Middle East ally as the civilian death toll in Gaza exceeds 10,000.

It’s claimed that the White House warned Israel against a ground offensive in Gaza, seeing it as an emotional overreach devoid of military logic. However, with Israel escalating regardless, Biden’s inner circle essentially views the current assault as collective punishment lacking coherent objectives. Officials believe the campaign is driven by wrath, not reason.

“The reason they didn’t want the ground invasion and asked all the questions is they feared this is the consequence — the situation inside Gaza would only get worse for the people there, and that would lead to escalation,” said a person familiar with the administration’s thinking.