Where’s Biden? Israel and Palestine Descend into Chaos

DSC_0416F by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The world is not in good shape.

While President Biden gets his ambitious VP Kamala Harris to handle foreign policy for him and talk to foreign leaders, many are wondering where America’s leadership is hiding. 

In particular, Israel and Palestine are facing off in a chaotic conflict that’s seen more than 700 Palestinians injured and dozens of Israelis as Hamas launches rockets from Gaza and violence breaks out at al Aqsa mosque and in East Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem has become a hotspot of conflict in the last few weeks, with Palestinian protesters throwing stones and Palestinian families being evicted from their homes, leading to retaliations. 

On May 10 while celebrating the day that Israel won over east Jerusalem and gained control of various holy Jewish sites, the conflict flared up, with rockets flying into Israel overnight and being intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. 

Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016 by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hamas Strikes Israel

The Hamas terrorist group and other extremist organizations launched over 200 rockets into Israel Monday night after the Israel Defense Forces didn’t leave the Al Aqsa mosque compound by that time. 

Israel killed a number of civilians in Gaza, including a woman and two men at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City and at least 15 other deaths including 100 injuries. It also hit a number of Hamas locations including a tunnel and rocket launchers, killing at least eight terrorists. 

“Terrorist organizations in Gaza have crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles in the outskirts of Jerusalem,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that “whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” and Israel will continue fighting as long as necessary. 

Hamas said it will keep launching rockets until Israel stops all “terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque.”

The US Response: ‘We’re Deeply Concerned’

The US response so far comes from State Department spokesperson Ned Price who said “we’re deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including violent confrontations in Jerusalem.”

Where’s the President?

Biden and his aides have shown they’re walking away from problems overseas, but they could have a role to play in stopping this situation from spinning completely out of control. 

It’s not like nobody knew problems were on the horizon. Middle East analysts have been to tell Biden for weeks that we were approaching a crisis situation in Israel, but he basically ignored it.

“It was flagged to the State Department that everyone was nervous about the end of Ramadan, Jerusalem Day and the canceled elections, and that a strategy be created to deal with what could be a very violent situation.

Over the following weeks, we didn’t hear anything from the administration on the Israeli-Palestinian file,” said a member of a Washington think tank.