Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2024

President Biden Pressures Israel

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:10 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Squeezed on all sides, both in and out of his political party, President Biden has opted to put pressure on Israel:

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” Biden said.

This of course begs the question: if Hamas terrorists are holed up in Rafah (as Israel believes), is Israel expected to just look the other way, or are they to start a ground invasion with subpar weapons, thus increasing the likelihood of many civilian deaths which would lead to further accusations of genocide? Because with a million civilians taking refuge in Rafah, there can be no doubt the civilian casualties would be devastating, no matter how careful Israel might be.

It looks like President Biden has chosen to give Hamas cover with his denial for artillery, and has essentially given the terror group the upper hand. Certainly Hamas leaders and other villains on the world stage are feeling pretty good about the President’s decision.

It should be noted that President Biden did reassure Israel that the U.S. would continue to provide them with defensive weapons:

Biden said while the US would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, including for its Iron Dome air defense system, other shipments would end should a major ground invasion of Rafah begin.

“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently,” he said. “But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to – we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells.”

I don’t know what the answer is, but tying Israel’s hands while strengthening Hamas’s, and limiting their ability to eradicate the terrorists in their midst – let alone rescue the hostages – doesn’t seem the way to go. But the reality is, with that many civilians squeezed into the region, it makes sense that the President would be hesitant to provide Israel the weaponry. An extreme loss of civilians would be awful, as would the optics of the United States having supplied the weapons. After all, there’s an election coming up.

—Dana

84 Responses to “President Biden Pressures Israel”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (8e902f)

  2. And there are far more woke apologists for Hamas than there are stalwart supporters of Israel that would vote for Biden in the first place.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  3. If, when the chips are down, the world’s most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.

    It is not our power but our will and character that is being tested tonight. The question all Americans must ask and answer tonight is this: Does the richest and strongest nation in the history of the world have the character to meet a direct challenge by a group which rejects every effort to win a just peace, ignores our warning, tramples on solemn agreements, violates the neutrality of an unarmed people, and uses our prisoners as hostages?

    If we fail to meet this challenge, all other nations will be on notice that despite its overwhelming power the United States, when a real crisis comes, will be found wanting.

    Richard Nixon, 4/30/1970, on Cambodia

    He was not wrong, as was shown a few years later when we let Pol Pot gain control there.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  4. A time for choosing.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  5. I can’t believe nobody has equated this to Trump’s Ukraine phone call yet.

    norcal (09816b)

  6. Biden was into half-assed measures for Ukraine, and now the same for Israel. Pathetic. And dumb.
    The faster Israel roots out and decimates Hamas, the sooner Palestinian civilians can come out of it.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  7. Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/8/2024 @ 5:37 pm

    He was not wrong, as was shown a few years later when we let Pol Pot gain control there.

    The truth is, that if he hadn’t encouraged the new Cambodian government to evict the North Vietnamese who were occupying a stretch of Cambodia near the birder and which the United States, till then, was letting be used as a sanctuary, there would have been no Pol Pot,

    Or at least no Khmer Rouge,

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  8. This of course begs the question: if Hamas terrorists are holed up in Rafah (as Israel believes), is Israel expected to just look the other way

    Of course not Israel is expected to negotiate a settlement with Hamas, Biden is attempting a compromise with reality.

    Perhaps Israel should bomb Iran. The United States will defend Israel, as before, and this time Israel should not agree to a ceasefire with Iran until the Ayatollah, like his predecessor Khomeini in 1988 when he ended the Iran-Iraq war, decides to swallow poison, so to speak, and Iran orders Hamas to surrender and the Houthis to stop.

    As it is the Houthis are getting ready to attack shipping that is going to go around the Cape of Good Hope..

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  9. @5 “I can’t believe nobody has equated this to Trump’s Ukraine phone call yet.”

    You just did.

    lloyd (ea6e7e)

  10. No one can tell me that Hamas would honor another ceasefire given that they broke other last one on October 7. It simply doesn’t matter what they say; their mission is to annihilate Israel. I think it’s foolish naïveté and playing cynical politics to think otherwise.

    Dana (8e902f)

  11. But, but, but those Dearborn votes

    Angelo (5d165f)

  12. @3 Kent State Ohio may 4 1970. At the time conservatives called it a victory.

    asset (982008)

  13. @11 Biden needs Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as much as the bottle deposit crooks needs rafah! 21% of republicans vote for nikki haley in indiana republican primary. Never trump a solid 20% of republican party even if only half refuse to vote for trump it will enough.

    asset (982008)

  14. What pressure is being put on Hamas? If there is some, who is applying it? Protesters all over the world are asking this question, aren’t they?

    John Boddie (dcf99c)

  15. Ms. Cheney is again a voice of reason

    Withholding aid to Israel is wrong and dangerous. America must not abandon Israel. Doing so would mean victory for Iran and all its terrorist allies.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  16. there would have been no Pol Pot,

    Or at least no Khmer Rouge,

    Sammy the Mystic again.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  17. I made this point on Twitter, but those lefties who expect Israel to just stand down, pack up, and head back home without finishing off Hamas are probably the sort of people who in April 1945 as the Allies were poised to enter Berlin would have said, “OK guys, that’s enough. Let’s pack it in and head home. Too many Germans are suffering for us to continue. Sure, we’ll leave Hitler in power, but we’ll cut a deal with him so that he agrees that the Nazis will no longer menace Europe. I’m sure he’ll honor it.”

    JVW (b02843)

  18. I suspect the policy, if it goes into effect at all, will remain “operative” for about as long as it takes for Biden’s spoonful of Milk of Magnesia to make its way through his digestive tract. But that’s the story that will be on the record.

    nk (63386f)

  19. Johnson slams Biden’s ‘senior moment’ on Israel aid

    His comments on Biden and Israel, however, are particularly notable because it was the first time that Johnson accused the president of violating promises made to secure the nearly $100 billion foreign aid package, passage of which led directly to yesterday’s ouster attempt.
    ….
    “I hope — I believe he’s off script,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that’s something that staff told him to say. I hope it’s a senior moment, because that would be a great deviation in what is said to be the policy there.”

    nk (63386f)

  20. Biden has funded Iran directly and now gives aid and comfort to Hamas.

    It’s time for choosing.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  21. ” An extreme loss of civilians would be awful, as would the optics of the United States having supplied the weapons. After all, there’s an election coming up.
    I was assured that this was an impeachable offense?

    whembly (86df54)

  22. testing…

    I’m trying to post here, and it’s not showing up.

    whembly (86df54)

  23. Oh… lookie here…

    This Pepperridge Farms remembers too…
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/05/does-bidens-sabotage-of-israel-remind-you-of-anything/

    I’m old enough to remember when House Democrats impeached and Senate Democrats voted unanimously (though unsuccessfully) to convict and remove a president for withholding congressionally approved, taxpayer-funded aid from an allied country — one that desperately needed the aid while fighting a defensive war against a barbaric enemy — in order to pressure that desperate ally to help the president get reelected.

    You’re old enough, too — this happened less than five years ago.

    …Biden is the American president who is withholding congressionally approved, taxpayer-funded aid from our ally, Israel, which desperately needs it while fighting a defensive war against Hamas — a barbaric enemy that killed, raped, and maimed Israelis on October 7 in its unceasing war of aggression.

    Indeed, Biden’s hostage crisis should be neck-and-neck with Biden’s border crisis as the top news story in America. And it would be if the media–Democrat complex were not doing what Biden is desperate for it to do: Tamp down on news of his fecklessness, faithlessness, and incompetence for the sake of preventing a Trump victory in November.

    And he is exploiting his executive power to withhold essential, congressionally approved aid to an ally in a defensive war against American enemies for one reason and one reason alone: to bolster his personal political prospects.

    Aid to Israel is unpopular among progressive Democrats of an Islamist bent in such key battleground states as Michigan. Without those voters, Biden’s reelection would be in grave doubt. That is, Biden is materially supporting Hamas, not in America’s national interests, not for grand geostrategic reasons, but to appease the Democrats’ radical Marxist–Islamist fringe.

    My purpose is to make two points.

    First, the voters’ verdict should account for Biden’s selling out Israel while it is imperiled, and aligning with Hamas jihadists while they hold American hostages and plot to celebrate their survival by yet again raping and marauding their way from the River to the Sea.

    Second, the Ukraine impeachment of Trump was sheer partisan hackery in which Democrats struggled, unsuccessfully, to formulate a crime they could say Trump committed (they settled on “abuse of power,” which can be impeachable but is not criminal). Don’t expect Biden to be subjected to the sort of high dudgeon Democrats aimed at Trump’s abandonment of our brave allies in their war of survival against an enemy’s rapacious aggression. Voters ought to remember that, too, come November.

    Word!

    whembly (86df54)

  24. I was assured that this was an impeachable offense?

    You only assured yourself because this isn’t the same thing at all.

    EVERY policy act influences elections. This, like most, ostensibly is about American interests, foreign policy and use of American weapons. Trump’s Ukraine call was ONLY about his personal political interest (in getting Zelensky to announce an investigation of Joe Biden).

    If you cannot see the difference then, well, it’s just sad.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  25. To be the same, Biden would have to condition his aid on Netanyahu denouncing Donald Trump.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  26. @24 @25
    No.

    The only reason why Biden is withholding Israeli aid is because he’s being pressured by the pro-Hamas wing of his party, and he’s afraid that this faction is going to cost him in November.

    It’s ONLY for pure personal political interest by the Biden administration.

    Further more, if you want to highlight differences, it’s still not a good look for Biden:
    -Israel, not Ukraine, has been a staunch ally for decades.
    -There are US HOSTAGES at the hands of Hamas at the time of this withholding. There were none during Trump’s Ukraine phone call.
    -Trump wanted to highlight alleged corruptions by the Biden, who wasn’t running yet or even announced. At the time, people were LAUGHING at the idea of Biden running for office. Versus, Biden *is* running for re-election with a very obvious, partisan faction pushing anti-Israeli motives.

    …as for similarities, that I also want to highlight:
    Folks were outraged, correctly, at Russian invasions perpetuating war crimes on Ukraine.

    Are we not similarly outraged at Hamas’ war crimes, and shouldn’t we be at the very least be equally as outraged here, as some of us were when Trump withheld aid to Ukraine?

    whembly (86df54)

  27. Whembly,

    to some Trump is their ultimate enemy and they will side with any to take him down. It doesn’t matter that Hamas is Satan’s progeny. They will still focus on whataboutism

    NJRob (3cf982)

  28. @29

    Whembly,

    to some Trump is their ultimate enemy and they will side with any to take him down. It doesn’t matter that Hamas is Satan’s progeny. They will still focus on whataboutism

    NJRob (3cf982) — 5/9/2024 @ 9:44 am

    I’m only holding them to the same standards…

    ‘Member some folks here labeled Trump as “Pro-Putin”?

    Well, by that standard, if they’re voting for Biden, then they’re Pro-Hamas…a designated terrorist.

    whembly (86df54)

  29. whembly, you are deluded on this. Absolutely cramming round pegs into square holes to attack Biden and/or defend Trump.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  30. It makes all of your other arguments weaker, as this nonsense makes you look stupid.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  31. @31

    It makes all of your other arguments weaker, as this nonsense makes you look stupid.

    Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/9/2024 @ 9:55 am

    Hmmm… no, I don’t think so.

    Why are you working overtime defending a terrorist sympathizer?

    whembly (86df54)

  32. Biden is turning his back on an actual ally because his pro-Hamas, anti-West wing is threatening to withhold support.

    That’s who people are choosing to support.

    NJRob (3cf982)

  33. They are actual Nazis calling for the extermination of the Jewish homeland and the West.

    NJRob (3cf982)

  34. Joe Biden
    @JoeBiden

    President Trump withheld Congressionally appropriated aid to Ukraine unless they granted him a political favor. It’s the definition of quid pro quo.

    This is no joke – Trump continues to put his own personal, political interests ahead of the national interest. He must be impeached.

    8:47PM • 10/18/19 From Earth

    Joe Biden withheld Congressionally appropriated aid to Israel unless they granted him a favor. it’s the definition of quid pro quo.

    This is no joke – Biden continues to put his own personal, political interests ahead of the national interest. He must be impeached.

    whembly (86df54)

  35. Why are you working overtime defending a terrorist sympathizer?

    Look, your argument goes like this if applied to Trump:

    “Trump could be impeached for not delivering arms to Ukraine because his base doesn’t want him to. Pure politics!”

    Such an argument is inane, as it would make EVERY decision subject to the “That’s politics!” claim. When in fact “politicians” are engaged in “politics” pretty much by definition.

    If Biden had said to Netanyahu “You won’t get any arms unless you announce an investigation of my opponent” THAT would be over the line. But not this.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  36. Biden is turning his back on an actual ally because his pro-Hamas, anti-West wing is threatening to withhold support.

    Now, this is a valid argument. And a fine reason to vote against him, if that’s what floats your boat. But it is not the same as explicitly demanding a quid pro quo interference in the American election.

    I happen to disagree with Biden on this, and DO feel he is pandering to his base. But then Biden pandering is “Dog bites man” — it’s his entire governing repertoire. Many politicians play politics; it’s not unusual.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  37. Biden continues to put his own personal, political interests ahead of the national interest.

    Well, I’d argue he puts party first, but maybe that’s a quibble. But politicians often do this. The line is when he conditions policy on election help.

    He must be impeached.

    You would establish a very low bar: Politicians playing politics. This is as strident as it is stupid.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  38. @36

    Why are you working overtime defending a terrorist sympathizer?

    Look, your argument goes like this if applied to Trump:

    “Trump could be impeached for not delivering arms to Ukraine because his base doesn’t want him to. Pure politics!”

    Such an argument is inane, as it would make EVERY decision subject to the “That’s politics!” claim. When in fact “politicians” are engaged in “politics” pretty much by definition.

    If Biden had said to Netanyahu “You won’t get any arms unless you announce an investigation of my opponent” THAT would be over the line. But not this.

    Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/9/2024 @ 11:01 am

    You’re oh so close making my argument.

    Particularly to the original defect of Trump’s 1st impeachment.

    But, that’s not really my point.

    My point, is to apply the same bloody standards to Democrats as they do with Republicans.

    whembly (86df54)

  39. whembly:

    The only reason why Biden is withholding Israeli aid is because he’s being pressured by the pro-Hamas wing of his party, and he’s afraid that this faction is going to cost him in November.

    It’s ONLY for pure personal political interest by the Biden administration.

    All the stuff you have written does not prove this assertion. For one thing, this may be Biden’s natural inclination. For a second thing, it might be a useful negotiating ploy to remind Isreal what American opinion might drive him to do. Isreal has used American politics to its own benefit to press American leaders. Now, if the US withheld arms to get custody of whatever the Mossad had on Jared Kushner’s deal with Saudi Arabia, you’d have a better case.

    Appalled (a34fa5)

  40. Of course all those excusing Biden are ignoring that Congress passed a law and Biden signed it requiring this transfer of arms to Israel.

    But what’s the law or supporting Israel against terrorists when the other option is Trump.

    NJRob (3cf982)

  41. #41 — No, we aren’t excusing Biden. We’re just calling it a wretched policy decision, rather than Trump style corruption.

    Appalled (a34fa5)

  42. NJRob (3cf982) — 5/9/2024 @ 11:32 am

    Of course all those excusing Biden are ignoring that Congress passed a law and Biden signed it requiring this transfer of arms to Israel.

    They think they are complying with the law.

    Evidently, the law only said that arms of a certain value shall be transferred to Israel. It didn’t specify what arms. So they will, in any case, send arms worth a certain amount.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/08/us/politics/biden-bombs-israel.html

    … At the same time, officials said they would still provide “every dollar” of aid authorized in the new congressional package.

    They also said just what not to send was up in the air.

    The 3,500 bombs held back last week include both 2,000-pound and 500-pound munitions. The State Department is also still weighing whether to proceed with the delivery of Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kits that can convert so-called dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons, but there is no imminent shipment at the moment.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  43. Appalled,

    make any excuse you want. It doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

    NJRob (3cf982)

  44. @40 Appalled:
    All the stuff you have written does not prove this assertion. For one thing, this may be [Trump’s] natural inclination. For a second thing, it might be a useful negotiating ploy to remind [Ukraine] what American opinion might drive him to do. [Ukraine] has used American politics to its own benefit to press American leaders. Now, if the US withheld arms to get to pressure Hamas to release the hostages, you’d have a better case [defending Biden].

    whembly (86df54)

  45. Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/9/2024 @ 11:05 am

    But it is not the same as explicitly demanding a quid pro quo interference in the American election.

    That’s not what Trump did. In fact, he explicitly disavowed any quid pro quo when it was put to him both by the AMbassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) who had been told that by Gordon Sondland. Gordon Sondland came up with the idea himself in September, 2019 because he thought this would unfreeze that aid. Trump himself never linked it to anything and inn fact never revealed to Zelensky that he had placed ahold on aid to Ukraine, and finding out the truth about what Biden said about the firing of the prosecutor was not his main request in his July 25, 2019 call..

    His main requests were that certain people not be included in Zelensky’s government (which Zelensky, unknown to Trump, had already done) and some nonsense about the DNC server which was supposedly in Ukraine.

    But then Biden pandering is “Dog bites man” — it’s his entire governing repertoire. Many politicians play politics; it’s not unusual

    It should be clear that what Biden is pandering to is not general opposition to Israel, (he won’t satisfy the extreme left) but specifically to a bombardment of Rafah.

    And he has never wanted that ever since it came up. Pressure from some Arab countries is also a factor.

    And you notice Biden backed down partially, (saying that seizure of the border crossing doesn’t count and ignoring the fact there was some collateral damage) since he has a problem with red lines. Israel by the way didn’t close it – the United Nations decided to stop sending in food.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  46. It doesn’t matter that Hamas is Satan’s progeny. They will still focus on whataboutism

    NJRob (3cf982) — 5/9/2024 @ 9:44 am

    That’s a nickname for Hezbollah (Party of God)

    Instead of Party of God, Party of Satan.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  47. Sure, we’ll leave Hitler in power, but we’ll cut a deal with him so that he agrees that the Nazis will no longer menace Europe.

    Instead, the policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was “unconditional surrender” Which happened on May 8 or May 9 1945.

    Which they have even afraid to demand of Hamas. Even Israel does not suggest that preferring to speak of Hamas no longer running Gaza.

    Although early on Biden was demanding that Hamas turn over those who planned October 7.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  48. whembly

    You are embracing the absurdium in reducem ab absurdium. Reading your arguments, I feel the need to check my brain for parasitic worms.

    Appalled (a34fa5)

  49. 16.

    there would have been no Pol Pot,

    Or at least no Khmer Rouge,

    This is the absolute truth.

    The Khmer Rouge were organized by North Vietnam in 1971. Although they went back a little before.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Khmer-Rouge

    After a right-wing military coup toppled Sihanouk in 1970, however, the Khmer Rouge entered into a political coalition with him and began attracting increased support in the Cambodian countryside, a trend that was accelerated by the destructive U.S. bombing campaigns over Cambodia in the early 1970s. By this time the Khmer Rouge were also receiving substantial aid from North Vietnam, which had withheld its support during the years of Sihanouk’s rule.

    They also received aid from Mao’s China, and the Chinese played a trick on Hanoi – gradually disconnecting them, while allowing Hanoi to think they still ran it. But Hanoi did not realize that until the fall of Saigon.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  50. parasitic worms.

    This is actually a real thing.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/08/us/rfk-jr-brain-health-memory-loss.html

    Doctors ultimately concluded that the cyst they saw on scans contained the remains of a parasite. Mr. Kennedy said that he did not know the type of parasite or where he might have contracted it, though he suspected it might have been during a trip through South Asia.

    Several infectious disease experts and neurosurgeons said in separate interviews with The Times that, based on what Mr. Kennedy described, they believed it was likely a pork tapeworm larva. The doctors have not treated Mr. Kennedy and were speaking generally.

    Dr. Clinton White, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said microscopic tapeworm eggs are sticky and easily transferred from one person to another. Once hatched, the larvae can travel in the bloodstream, he said, “and end up in all kinds of tissues.”

    Though it is impossible to know, he added that it is unlikely that a parasite would eat a part of the brain, as Mr. Kennedy described. Rather, Dr. White said, it survives on nutrients from the body. Unlike tapeworm larvae in the intestines, those in the brain remain relatively small, about a third of an inch.

    Some tapeworm larvae can live in a human brain for years without causing problems. Others can wreak havoc, often when they start to die, which causes inflammation. The most common symptoms are seizures, headaches and dizziness.

    There are roughly 2,000 hospitalizations for the condition, known as neurocysticercosis, each year in the United States, according to the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    Scott Gardner, curator of the Manter Laboratory for Parasitology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said that once any worm is in a brain, cells calcify around it. “And you’re going to basically have almost like a tumor that’s there forever. It’s not going to go anywhere.”

    Dr. Gardner said it was possible a worm would cause memory loss. However, severe memory loss is more often associated with another health scare Mr. Kennedy said he had at the time: mercury poisoning.

    Mr. Kennedy said he was then subsisting on a diet heavy on predatory fish, notably tuna and perch, both known to have elevated mercury levels. In the interview with The Times, he said that he had experienced “severe brain fog” and had trouble retrieving words. Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer who has railed against the dangers of mercury contamination in fish from coal-fired power plants, had his blood tested.

    He said the tests showed his mercury levels were 10 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe…

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  51. @49

    whembly

    You are embracing the absurdium in reducem ab absurdium. Reading your arguments, I feel the need to check my brain for parasitic worms.

    Appalled (a34fa5) — 5/9/2024 @ 1:03 pm

    I promise you… I’m not. (and I don’t have parasitic worms in my brain 😉 )

    I wanted to highlight your arguments in a way that it can be flipped the other way.

    If both statement can plausible be made, no matter who’s articulating, then maybe take a step back and look at it from the alternative viewpoint.

    whembly (86df54)

  52. Neither mercury nor parasitic worms are necessary to explain anything about the Kennedys.

    nk (bb1548)

  53. Unexplained coda to New York Times article: (you have to click on Read More to see this)

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/05/08/world/israel-gaza-war-hamas-rafah

    …Majdi Ahmed, 31, spent Wednesday with eight people in a tent in the western part of Rafah, which was not included in Israel’s evacuation order this week.

    Since Israel’s incursion began, Mr. Ahmed said, he and the others in the tent had been listening to explosions and watching bombs fall, including one that he said had struck Rafah’s municipal offices. But he said it did not sound like Hamas was putting up much of a fight.

    “Everyone here can hear the strikes on Rafah,” said Mr. Ahmed, who worked as a taxi driver in Jabaliya in northern Gaza before war. “We don’t hear fire exchange though. It is more like a one-sided thing to me.”

    He said that several families fleeing the eastern part of Rafah had sent up their tents since the day before, but some had also fled the area to seek safety elsewhere in Gaza, fearing that Israel would soon push into the rest of Rafah.

    But Mr. Ahmed and his family stayed put.

    That was, in part, because he had paid $7,500 to secure passage through the border crossing for his wife and child this week, and he wanted to see if that would still be possible with the crossing under Israeli control. But they also stayed because Mr. Ahmed said the idea of seeking safety somewhere else seemed pointless.

    “I tend to believe this is a safe area,” he said. “Even though I know nowhere is safe.”

    He must mean nowhere is Gaza.

    Now who did he pay?

    From what I can tell, about 10% of the population of Gaza left in the five years before October 7, 2023, and 5% since (and if Egypt followed international refugee law, that would probably be something like 60%

    And a lot of the malnutrition dates from before October 7 (there was great economic inequality before.)

    There were demonstrations in Gaza in March-April 2019 with the slogan: “We want to live.” and even in 2023 (on July 30 and August 4)

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/protests-against-hamas-reemerge-in-the-streets-of-gaza-but-will-they-persist

    Mustafa (not his real name), an anti-Hamas activist in his mid-30s living in Gaza who agreed to speak to The Times of Israel by email on condition of total anonymity, described life in the isolated enclave under the rule of Hamas and the Israeli blockade as an “open-air prison.”

    Mustafa said that with over 70% youth unemployment and an average per capita income per day of NIS 20, or $5.5, intermittent access to electricity, and undrinkable tap water, life in the enclave is barely livable for the vast majority of citizens who are not somehow tied to Hamas.

    Leaving the Strip requires at least $10,000 to be smuggled out illegally, with high chances of dying on the way to freedom, he added. This is all because “Gazan civilians are exploited as a pawn in a struggle between regional forces, and Hamas uses its citizens as human shields to defend its project of ‘Islamic resistance’ while it silences and threatens to kill any opposition,” he continued.

    A professional who describes himself as a “liberal and a democrat” interested in “humanitarian issues and free citizenship,” Mustafa estimated that the current wave of demonstrations has only just begun, since in his view the protesters’ demands are not limited to electricity, but aimed at ultimately overthrowing “the military regime and the rule of the clerics.”

    Of course the college protesters know nothing of this.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  54. The New York Times says President Reagan also did this:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/08/us/politics/biden-bombs-israel.html

    The relationship between the United States and Israel has been a singular one since the Jewish state declared its independence in 1948 and President Harry S. Truman just 11 minutes later made the United States the first nation in the world to recognize it. But the relationship has also long been marked by moments of deep stress.

    At first, under both Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the United States refused to sell Israel weapons at all. President John F. Kennedy became the first to open up the arsenal by providing Hawk antiaircraft missiles. President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded ties by sending M-48 tanks, A-4 Skyhawk planes and F-4 Phantom planes.

    Presidents have held back aid to Israel before to indicate displeasure or influence policy. President Ronald Reagan more than once delayed shipments of warplanes and other munitions out of dissatisfaction with Israeli intervention in Lebanon. President George H.W. Bush postponed $10 billion in housing loan guarantees to keep American money from being used to finance settlement construction in the West Bank.

    In the end things didn’t turn out so good in Lebanon. A peac e treaty was torn up, and although Yasir Arafat the PLO was exiled to Tunis, Hezbollah was created in Lebanon and two truck bombs chased the United States out of Lebanon. The US knew of the threat but took its time planning a defense. Time it didn’t have.

    Israel had a siege in Beirut – a tactic maybe made illegal in 1999.

    Sammy Finkelman (61907d)

  55. Catoggio makes the distinction better than I could:

    But the problem with Trump’s conduct in his first impeachment wasn’t that he withheld foreign aid from an ally, as Mike Pence and Tom Cotton surely understand. It’s that he used the aid to try to extort that ally for something of personal value to him, namely, dirt on his election opponent. Quid pro quo, remember?

    Biden isn’t demanding a quid pro quo from Netanyahu, he’s attempting to influence Israeli policy. It’s similar to Trump threatening that he’ll withdraw the U.S. from NATO if member nations don’t meet their obligations to contribute 2 percent of their GDP toward defense spending. That’s “extortion” of a sort but no one regards it as an impeachable offense because it’s aimed at procuring a policy shift, not a personal benefit to him.

    It is true that Biden will—he thinks!—benefit personally by winning the election if he can stop the attack on Rafah, but it may well also be true that he believes averting the attack is good policy on the merits by sparing civilians from the Israel onslaught and America from the resulting international backlash. Similarly, if Trump had polling proving that Americans loved his policy of squeezing NATO members, the fact that he’d benefit electorally from it wouldn’t make it less legitimate. So long as the pressure he’s applying is geared toward influencing an ally’s policies in a way that arguably serves America rather than procuring the political equivalent of a fat envelope for himself, it’s not an abuse of power. Just a matter of debatable judgment.

    If Biden asks Bibi for Mossad’s dossier on Trump in return for weapons, that would be an impeachable quid pro quo. (Not to mention an amazing read, I’m sure.)

    https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/boilingfrogs/half-pregnant/

    What Trump did and what Biden is doing just aren’t the same. Put aside your tribal emotion and you just might see it.

    Like I’ve mentioned, I voted for Trump in 2016, and was defending him as recently as 2020. I am not too proud to admit that I erred in judgment.

    norcal (1a9ab2)

  56. Cataggio is right, unsurprisingly.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  57. Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/9/2024 @ 5:22 pm

    I’m seeing why our host likes him so much. The guy cranks out an article every weekday, and looks at things from so many angles.

    norcal (1a9ab2)

  58. Allahpundit is just excusing himself for continuing to support Biden. He will jump through any hoops to do so as he’s now allowing with a Nazi organization through Biden.

    NJRob (3cf982)

  59. Maybe what Biden is doing is not illegal, but it is indefensible. Unreliable allies are worse than enemies. This is not a good look for America, or for our political system.

    As if Kamala Harris a heartbeat away from the Presidency was not already enough of a nightmare. I just can’t ….

    nk (bb1548)

  60. …he’s now allowing with a Nazi organization through Biden…

    Um, ridiculous and false, because Catoggio has been consistently critical of how Biden has acted toward Israel.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  61. I, for one, am pleased that AllahWhataboutism has made everyone ok with Trump’s actions against NATO.

    +1

    BuDuh (d048f4)

  62. Personally, I think that Trump’s supporters would be better off attacking Biden for his many faults and not just making up sh1t.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  63. Maybe what Biden is doing is not illegal, but it is indefensible. Unreliable allies are worse than enemies.

    Like this (although nk is not in the tank for Trump as far as I know).

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  64. Is this declaration albatross worthy?

    BuDuh (14331e)

  65. Is this declaration albatross worthy?

    It certainly doesn’t pass the laugh test. Then again, memories are short. Especially for these two.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  66. Biden is trying to get re-elected. He can’t afford to lose the votes and energy of student activist wing of the Democrat party, the votes of CAIR and Islamic enclaves in swing states as we move into summer of election year 2024. The similarities between Trump then, Biden now, are the motives of personal gain and leverage being used to achieve it. Without a leaked transcript of the conversations we don’t know if Biden verbalized the personal gain part or not. I really doubt Biden’s decision to influence policy is rooted in principle, compassion, human rights, but Biden hasn’t said the quiet part out loud either.

    On a side note, I’d be curious to know how much Biden actually participates on these calls once the greeting is over. Biden lapses into incoherence, drifts into bungles during his public speech so I assume his phone calls to world leaders need to be carefully orchestrated

    steveg (3375a3)

  67. Biden continues to put his own personal, political interests ahead of the national interest. He must be impeached.

    whembly (86df54) — 5/9/2024 @ 10:22 am

    Good luck-I don’t think Hakeem Johnson will allow that.

    Rip Murdock (f2e670)

  68. Biden is a corrupt senile old fool who will sellout Israel and trump is a corrupt fascist and putin puppet who will sell out Ukraine. We are told we must choose the lesser of two evils and don’t you dare vote third party thats interfering with our election system!

    asset (c62472)

  69. I, for one, am pleased that AllahWhataboutism has made everyone ok with Trump’s actions against NATO.

    +1

    BuDuh (d048f4) — 5/9/2024 @ 8:23 pm

    He didn’t say it was okay. He said it wasn’t impeachable.

    norcal (70fc5d)

  70. @67

    Biden is trying to get re-elected. He can’t afford to lose the votes and energy of student activist wing of the Democrat party, the votes of CAIR and Islamic enclaves in swing states as we move into summer of election year 2024. The similarities between Trump then, Biden now, are the motives of personal gain and leverage being used to achieve it. Without a leaked transcript of the conversations we don’t know if Biden verbalized the personal gain part or not. I really doubt Biden’s decision to influence policy is rooted in principle, compassion, human rights, but Biden hasn’t said the quiet part out loud either.

    This.

    The Biden administration wouldn’t give a crap if it there wasn’t an upcoming election.

    On a side note, I’d be curious to know how much Biden actually participates on these calls once the greeting is over. Biden lapses into incoherence, drifts into bungles during his public speech so I assume his phone calls to world leaders need to be carefully orchestrated

    steveg (3375a3) — 5/9/2024 @ 9:46 pm

    Oh, it’s absolutely his handler’s policy that is driving this as this is a Weekend at Bernie’s presidency.

    whembly (86df54)

  71. @70

    He didn’t say it was okay. He said it wasn’t impeachable.

    norcal (70fc5d) — 5/9/2024 @ 10:42 pm

    Allah is wrong.

    What he steadfastly ignores, is that this is the same Hamas that is currently holding five American hostages — Keith Siegel, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Edan Alexander, Omer Neutra, and Sagui Dekel-Chen.

    All we have to do, is replace the name of “Biden” with “Trump”… and if you get an instinctive reaction that it’s worse… you might want to look in the mirror.

    Here, lemme help by illustrating two similarly worded statement.
    The Trump Ukraine Aid:

    Trump is exploiting his executive power to withhold essential, congressionally approved aid to an ally in a defensive war against American enemies for one reason and one reason alone: to bolster his personal political prospects.

    Political opponents alleged that Trump had corruptly done this to pressure the government of Ukraine to take actions (the quid pro quo), an abuse of power of his office, that would influence the 2020 presidential election to Trump’s benefit.

    The Biden Israeli Aid:

    Biden is exploiting his executive power to withhold essential, congressionally approved aid to an ally in a defensive war against American enemies for one reason and one reason alone: to bolster his personal political prospects.

    Political opponents alleged that Biden had corruptly done this to pressure the government of Israel to take actions (the quid pro quo), an abuse of power of his office, that would influence the 2024 presidential election to Biden’s benefit.

    So spare me any indignation that these are not the same thing. There are only two views heres:
    1) If what Trump did was impeachable, then Biden also committed an impeachable offense.

    2) If what Biden did was NOT impeachable worthy, then Trump’s first impeachment wasn’t a serious offense enough for impeachment.

    Anything else other than 1 & 2, must be construed as nothing more than hypocritical partisan hackery.

    whembly (86df54)

  72. Republicans in the House simply don’t have the votes to impeach Biden over anything. If they did, he would have been impeached over his leading the Biden Crime Family™️.

    Rip Murdock (f2e670)

  73. @73

    Republicans in the House simply don’t have the votes to impeach Biden over anything. If they did, he would have been impeached over his leading the Biden Crime Family™️.

    Rip Murdock (f2e670) — 5/10/2024 @ 7:39 am

    We’re talking about two different things.

    Whether or not the GOP has the vote has no bearings to my position in demanding that we apply the same standards.

    whembly (86df54)

  74. How about we agree on the standard:

    Secret + for personal gain = abuse of power.
    Proper procedure + not for personal gain = not abuse.

    Sam G (87ab56)

  75. And: aid is not being withheld entirely as was done by Trump. It’s specific weaponry (2000lb bombs) that are not being sent: other items, like munitions for Iron Dome, would still be sent.

    I don’t think Biden is paying much attention to either side and is doing what he thinks is best for the US, Israel, and the region as a whole.

    Sam G (87ab56)

  76. Whether or not the GOP has the vote has no bearings to my position in demanding that we apply the same standards.

    whembly (86df54) — 5/10/2024 @ 8:00 am

    Since the Republicans are (technically) in control of the House, it is their conference that needs to apply the standards. And they don’t have the votes to do so.

    Rip Murdock (f2e670)

  77. Whether or not the GOP has the vote has no bearings to my position in demanding that we apply the same standards.

    whembly (86df54) — 5/10/2024 @ 8:00 am

    I think you overestimate the influence of this forum. We can demand things all we want but they are unlikely to happen.

    Rip Murdock (f2e670)

  78. Whether or not the GOP has the vote has no bearings to my position in demanding that we apply the same standards.

    Except that it isn’t the same thing, which to me implies it’s not the same standards. But you will never see that, it seems.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  79. The excuses will continue to reign while we all know there’s only one difference that matters. It’s Trump. That’s it. Get him by any means.

    NJRob (8d7d2d)

  80. It’s Trump. That’s it. Get him by any means.

    This is now officially boring. Get a new shtick.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  81. And perhaps also bone up on the Impoudment Control Act and the Foreign Military Financing program, and the former applies to Trump’s withholding all aid from Ukraine while the latter applies to refusing to sell Israel specific weaponry.

    Sam G (87ab56)

  82. Impoundment*

    Sam G (87ab56)

  83. It’s reality Kevin. So many have jumped onto the radical leftist bandwagon while still pretending to be nominally Republican. It’s boring.

    NJRob (8d7d2d)

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