Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Israelis fear Biden’s ‘intolerable’ cease-fire demand means victory for Hamas

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JERUSALEM – President Biden’s push Thursday in a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an immediate cease-fire in the Jewish state’s six-month war campaign to defeat the terrorist movement Hamas in Gaza unleashed fierce criticism from Israeli experts.

“A ceasefire now would be a victory to Hamas. It would show the terrorist organization that terrorism pays. The world needs to remain aligned behind Israel in its campaign to further weaken Hamas,” Yaakov Katz, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem based Jewish People Institute told Fox News Digital.

In a White House readout of Biden’s call with Netanyahu it was noted that the president “underscored that an immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians, and he urged the Prime Minister to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home.”

The statement also touched on Iran, noting, “The two leaders also discussed public Iranian threats against Israel and the Israeli people. President Biden made clear that the United States strongly supports Israel in the face of those threats.”

BIDEN WARNS NETANYAHU THAT US WILL CHANGE POLICY ON GAZA UNLESS ISRAEL PROTECTS CIVILIANS

American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, Israel. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

A spokeswoman for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office sent Fox News Digital a statement from Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting on Thursday. “The Cabinet authorized the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, and Minister [Benny] Gantz to take immediate steps to increase humanitarian aid to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.” The statement added, “This increased aid will prevent a humanitarian crisis and is necessary to ensure the continuation of the fighting and to achieve the goals of the war.”

Hamas invaded Israel on October 7 and massacred 1,200 people, including over 30 Americans. The terrorist organization Hamas is currently holding over 100 hostages in the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ remaining battalions are centered in Rafah, the last major holdout for the Sunni terrorist group in Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remark on Thursday sparked outrage among many Israelis. He seemed to compare Israel to the U.S.-sanctioned terrorist entity Hamas in the context of Israel allegedly failing to protect civilians in Gaza.

Hamas has used civilians in its wars, including the current conflict, as human shields to blur the distinction between terrorists and civilians. Blinken said, “It’s what distinguishes us from terrorists like Hamas. If we lose that reverence for human life, we risk becoming indistinguishable from those we confront.”

Biden and Netanyahu split image

This combination photo shows President Joe Biden, left, on March 8, 2024, in Wallingford, Pa., and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 28, 2023. Biden and Netanyahu spoke Monday, March 18, in their first interaction in more than a month as the divide has grown between allies over food crisis in Gaza, conduct of war.  (AP Photo)

Katz, the former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, also told Fox News Digital, “Israel has been fighting this war in a way that is unprecedented in modern warfare. It has achieved a civilian-combatant ratio that has never been seen before in urban warfare and takes enormous measures to avoid civilian casualties. Unfortunately, mistakes and tragedies in war happen, but Israel is not Hamas. It is the exact opposite. Its military aims not to hit civilians, while Hamas aims to hit civilians.”

ISRAEL-IRAN TENSIONS RISING AS IDF PAUSES LEAVE FOR ALL COMBAT UNITS: ‘MORE ALERT, MORE READY’

Hamas terrorists inside Israel during attack

This image, made from undated bodycam video footage taken by a downed Hamas terrorist and released by Israel Defense Forces, shows a Hamas terrorist walking around a residential neighborhood at an undisclosed location in southern Israel. Israel’s military brought together a group of foreign correspondents on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, to screen a 40-minute reel of gruesome footage compiled from the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

For Israelis who are on the front lines of a new Hamas attack, the safety of Israelis should not be contingent on American elections, and the parallel to Hamas uttered by Blinken is disturbing.  Biden has been accused of seeking to woo Arab-American voters in Michigan at the expense of securing the release of American hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and the security of Israel.

Talia Golijov, an American-Israeli resident of a kibbutz on the border to Gaza, told Fox News Digital, “From the outset I’ve thought that ‘total victory’ is a vague and unachievable goal, and that the primary objective should be the return of the hostages, and I would want to see that as soon as possible. Without minimizing the tragedy and scope of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the pressure and double standards put on Israel for its conduct of the war has become intolerable. It is inconceivable that the IDF would ever behave like, or become indistinguishable from, a terrorist organization.” 

IDF AID Convoy

Six humanitarian aid trucks containing resources from the World Food Program (WFP) entering the northern Gaza Strip from Israel. (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)

She continued, “The change in Biden’s policy comes as much as a result of an immediate high-profile mistake as it does from the impending elections. His polling numbers shouldn’t be a determining factor in how Israel proceeds with the war and secures its future.”

Golijov added, “With all due respect, and thanks to the administration for its support until now, Israel has always maintained a mantra that at the end of the day, it’s up to us to defend ourselves. So, now it’s time for Netanyahu to live up to this.”

YOUNG GENERATION OF ANTI-HAMAS ACTIVISTS IN GAZA STEP UP TO SERVE BUT ARE SNUBBED BY UN, AID GROUPS

Antony Blinken in France

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a joint press conference with French foreign minister after their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris on April 2, 2024. (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

There are dissenting voices who wish to see Israel bring its prosecution of the war to a close. Yossi Melman, a veteran Israeli columnist for the left-leaning Haaretz, told Fox News Digital, “I think the war should be stopped. It is the moral obligation of Israel to get the hostages released.”

Melman is a leading expert on Israel’s intelligence and defense establishment. He said, “Once there is a ceasefire in Gaza, there will be a ceasefire in Lebanon. I believe the Houthis will stop targeting Israel, and there will be calm in the region.” He noted that “Israel accelerated humanitarian aid” in response to Biden’s demands.

He believes that Netanyahu’s “talk about complete victory is rubbish.” Melman sees a long-term cease-fire “only when an international military force would move in to stabilize the situation.” 

Al-Shifa hospital

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP)

He continued that instead of bringing Hamas to power, what’s needed is “an international force or Arab force led by the Palestinian Authority.”

Melman said, “It does not matter if there is double standard. That is the reality. Whether we like it or not. I don’t like it. We are inches from a European Union arms embargo … Israel does not have an alternative to the U.S. And there is no alternative to Biden. Trump is worse. Trump said there should be cease-fire. Biden is the last fully pro-Israel president. Israel is losing America.”

After Biden and Blinken voiced their criticism of Israel, the Jewish state’s Minister for Diaspora affairs and combating antisemitism, Amichai Chikli, posted a picture showing former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who infamously appeased and misread Hitler’s plans for European conquest, on X, stating: “Being weak towards your enemies and harsh towards your allies is a strategy that has never proven itself.”

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Yishai Fleisher, who previously served as an adviser to Israel’s controversial Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, told Fox News Digital, “Elements of the U.S. administration are working to have us lose this war to Hamas through, basically, getting us to stop fighting and through the use of a new kind of human shield, which is aid workers, and flooding the place with food and making sure that nobody moves. The Biden administration is ensuring that the terrorists will not be rooted out and Hamas is going to be able to declare victory. We are seeing an effort to help Hamas win the conflict.”

Fleisher, who is director for International affairs for the Jewish community of Hebron, added that Hamas “will certainly come out and say, ‘Look we were able to rout the Israelis, and we were able to do horrible things to them, and we were able to ethnically cleanse them, and they were not able to defeat us, because we were able to marshal the international community.” He continued, “The next step is total Hamas victory and therefore victory for global Jihad against Israel and a limited defeat for Israel, which is going to be hurtful, and give tailwind to the Jihad against Israel and global Jihad.”



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