As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its second week, Joe Biden plans to travel to Israel to demonstrate US support. Biden, anonymous sources told Politico, “could land in Israel as early as this week.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Biden to visit when the two men spoke on Saturday, the officials said, with one of them saying the administration was “weighing” the offer.
Biden has told aides he’s interested in going, as his presence would demonstrate strong U.S. support after Hamas killed more than 1,300 Israelis and took around 150 hostages, including Americans. But the likelihood of escalating hostilities could mean that any future trip occurs during a particularly precarious point in the developing war.
Israeli media are starting to report that Biden will arrive on Wednesday.
If you have any doubt whether this is really a show of support for an ally or a cheap political stunt, the fact that Joe Biden is involved should settle it. Biden’s trip is an unnecessary distraction as the Israeli government is engaged in a brutal war with Hamas; it is much more likely to be interpreted in the region as Biden visiting Netanyahu to read him the Riot Act about the Israeli Army’s pending operation in Gaza.
On the one hand, it was the action of Biden’s national security staff that led to the war. Shortly after taking office, Biden’s policy mavens set about minimizing the Abraham Accords in favor of the Obama policy of propping up Iran as a regional superpower. This led to a failed attempt to restart the Iran nuclear deal and the decision to “pursue a strategy of deterrence, of pressure and diplomacy,” in contrast to the Trump administration’s policy of marginalizing Iran politically while containing it militarily. Pressure, apparently being defined as kissing Khamenei’s pimply butt (NEW: Biden Unfreezes $6 Billion in Iranian Assets in Deal to Free Five American Hostages) and kowtowing to its demands in the region.
One year ago – Oct 2022 – Team Biden gave Hezbollah a major victory by pressuring Israel's lame duck govt to cede them maritime territory.— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) October 15, 2023
Six weeks ago they gave Hezbollah another major victory by endorsing their position that parts of Israeli Golan are "occupied."
Now ⤵️ https://t.co/sBB7c1LSdQ
Let’s be clear: The Biden White House is not Israel’s friend in this affair. While the attack was horrific, it never threatened Israel’s existence in the way the Yom Kippur War did. Biden’s, or I should say National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s, goal is to ape support for Israel while working behind the scenes to ensure that Israel will not be able to demolish the Iranian-sponsored and supported Hamas terror network and wrest control of the Palestinian population in Gaza from it (Biden Throws Israel Under the Bus While Making Some of the Same Wrong Moves He’s Made Before). The destruction of Hamas would be a tremendous blow to Iran’s prestige in the region, as well as removing one of its proxy terrorist groups.
If you read through the Politico piece, you can see this trip is planned to offset the critique that Biden is simply too senile and physically decrepit to run for a second term as president. The issue of Biden’s mental and physical fitness threatens to dominate the 2024 campaign (NY Times’ Hilarious Headline on Biden’s Age Being an ‘Asset’ Goes All Kinds of Wrong When Hit by Reality).
White House aides note Biden has made daring trips before, namely his visit to Kyiv in February, as the war with Russia raged. That visit was considered by many aides to be one of the highlights of his presidency. The 80-year-old Biden has also traveled elsewhere to the region — visiting both Poland and Lithuania — as demonstrations of the United States’ commitment to defending democracies worldwide.
But while the trip to Ukraine’s capital involved a secret 10-hour train ride, one to Israel would, in some ways, be even more complicated.
Back in February, the U.S. communicated to Russia to not interfere with the trip and Moscow, perhaps mindful of an American reprisal, did not try to stop the president, though air raid sirens did go off as Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy walked the streets of Kyiv. Hamas, a group the United States has designated a terrorist organization, would be more likely to take a provocative strike at a traveling president, according to one of the officials.
And a visit of U.S. senators to Tel Aviv this week underscored the danger. The group of lawmakers, which included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, had to seek refuge in a bomb shelter when warning sirens blared. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, however, did visit Israel in the last week without significant complications.
Theme: The trip is dangerous and arduous. But Joe Biden is no stranger to either danger or hardship.
If the trip happens, you’ll see this in a campaign commercial.