The US remains largely empty in the entire diplomatic press with Israel and the Arab world

(Jonathan Ernst/Associated Press)

The US remains largely empty in the entire diplomatic press with Israel and the Arab world


Tracy Wilkinson

November 10, 2023

Israel’s war with Hamas, which has killed thousands of people in a single month, is reverberating around the world, roiling American politics and sowing division in universities and workplaces.


within the Biden administration.

Yet the administrations


attempts to a


spreading and disastrous conflicts

have been



in short, despite

pushing staff

intervention from President Biden and the strongest diplomatic effort yet from his top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

Israel has repeatedly rejected the advice of the US, its most surprising ally. And friendly Arab countries that initially joined the US condemnation of the October attacks. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the war have gradually distanced themselves from Washington.

The chaotic dynamics have fueled uncertainty about how the conflict will develop and how it will end


and what the resulting landscape will look like.


Biden said Thursday that he asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


Monday in a telephone conversation


to suspend military operations for several days to save Palestinian lives, ease the humanitarian crisis and put pressure on negotiations to release hostages.

But Netanyahu refused, Biden said. The president was asked if he was frustrated with Netanyahu, with whom he has had a relationship

for decades


of decades


“It took a little longer than I hoped,” Biden told reporters as he left the White House.

Instead, the White House said, Israel agreed Thursday to a four-hour daily pause on bombings and other military operations to allow Palestinians access to the Gaza Strip.


to move south


to security and the international community to transport shipments of food, medicine and other aid to the besieged coastal enclave.

A second north-south corridor


along the coast


will be opened for Gaza residents to flee, Israel said. Tens of thousands of people, many on foot, have marched along the strip’s main north-south highway in recent days hoping to escape Israeli airstrikes that have destroyed entire neighborhoods, as well as the Israeli incursion that opened a new phase of ground attacks. struggle in cramped urban spaces.

Many Palestinians resist leaving their homes, fearing they will never be allowed to return. The forced displacement of civilian populations is considered a violation of international law.

U.S. officials said the pauses, if they happen,

would judge

a good first step, albeit a limited one

. a


no deal




hostages would not be direct

connected with regard to the breaks

. In addition, hostage negotiations took place in Qatar, where Hamas has offices and where the government maintains relations with the militant group. CIA Director William Burns was reportedly present



Israeli officials estimate that Hamas militants and an allied group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are holding 239 hostages, including children and women.





the coming out of

four women.

were released earlier.

The hostages were captured by militants in October. 7 attacks in southern Israel involving more than 1,400 people


were killed. The prisoners include fewer than 10 U.S. citizens.

BidenUS administration

. officials say.

Backed by the US, Israel has steadfastly refused to consider a ceasefire, even as demands for one have increased worldwide, both from the United Nations and from numerous Arab and other countries. Israel argues that any cessation of hostilities would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm in preparation for another attack on Israelis.

The pauses announced Thursday are not a ceasefire, Israel said; the fighting would only be suspended

specifically distinguished


US officials say Israel appears to be extremely confident in prosecuting the war, which could explain its opposition to it

The rise of the Biden administration in the US


Nevertheless, p

source is mounted


for Israel to change its tactics as death toll in Gaza from massive Israeli airstrikes rises above 10,000, Hamas campaign says

Gaza H



institute, including at least 4,000 children. UNICEF called Gaza a ‘graveyard for thousands of children’.

Although Israelis and some US officials have expressed doubts about the exact death toll,

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said “many, many thousands” had died.

“I think we agree that too many civilians have been killed,” he said.

Netanyahu also irritated US officials when he



ABC New before

this week that Israel should adopt

“general safety responsibility” “indefinite safety control”

over Gaza

“for an indefinite period of time,”

Plans are suggested to occupy the strip of land where, at least before the war, more than 2 million Palestinians lived.

The Biden administration has remained adamant that post-war Gaza should be free of Hamas, but not occupied by Israel, and that it remain Palestinian, ideally part of a future Palestinian state.

The United States believes that key elements should not include forcible relocation of Palestinians from Gaza, not now and not after the war, Blinken said, in an emphatic response to Netanyahu after he rushed across the Middle East and arrived within days had held talks in six countries. No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or defeat Gaza. No reduction of Gaza’s territory.

Israel has also ignored American pleas to rein in hard-line Jews

settlers in the occupied West Bank

, where they attacked Palestinian villagers. Israeli officials tell their American counterparts they will comply but don’t, according to people familiar with the talks. Instead, members of Netanyahu’s cabinet have distributed more weapons to the settlers, whose presence in the occupied territory is considered illegal by the UN and most countries. Gaza diary: what life is like under daily air raids, power outages and scarcity

Government officials have repeatedly defended Israel’s right to retaliate against Hamas, but said they have consistently warned Israeli officials to comply.

fight according to

international law, that

among other things



the army


to make every effort to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to attack proportionately. But US officials have publicly refused to assess whether Israel is indeed following the guidelines set out in the Geneva Convention


and elsewhere.

Blinken, whose family includes Holocaust survivors and whose first responses to the October 2011 attacks occurred. The seven attacks were sincere and deep-seated and have become the closest government officials have since come to signaling that Israel is not fully adhering to the rules of war.

There are steps, additional steps that we believe Israel can and should take to minimize civilian casualties and human suffering, Blinken said in Tokyo on Wednesday.

while he acknowledges it. He acknowledged

it can be difficult because of Hamas’s well-documented tactics to integrate fighters, weapons and equipment into the civilian population.

But, Blinken said, Israel still has a duty to distinguish between terrorists and civilians.

Still a disagreement about the road


The government has dealt with the most explosive crisis in the Middle East in generations, has spread,




US foreign policy agencies.

Various petitions or letters of complaint are circulating


the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. One employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resigns in protest, the other

went so far as that

to blame


Biden of complicity in


A memo criticizing rampant support for Israel and urging a ceasefire was submitted to the department’s Dissent Channel, an internal mechanism through which foreign service officers

is that possible

express their disagreement with the policy.

“This conflict is incredibly charged,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said. “This is an incredibly difficult and taxing time. … We expect that people in our workforce have different personal beliefs, different beliefs about what American foreign policy should be. And we encourage individuals to continue to express those views. “

Israeli voices questioning war are weak: ‘Some people call us traitors’

Many of the critics belong to the younger generation in government, people in their thirties

who are

too young to have lived


previous crises in the region, such as the two Intifadas, Palestinian uprisings demanding an end to the Israeli occupation, which culminated in deadly clashes with





Washington’s closest allies in the Arab world, none of whom were particularly fond of Hamas, publicly expressed mild criticism of the October 1 election. 7 attacks in the initial aftermath. Privately, they were more forceful, telling government officials they supported the ouster of Hamas.

But once




bombardment of Gaza began, with images of

multiple stories


high-rise buildings

to collapse

a tornado of


and the non-stop ritual of bloodied crumpled and

After the bodies were recovered from the rubble, several Arab states became the most vocal supporters of an immediate ceasefire. The leaders and

more urgent,

their population could not tolerate the enormous losses.

As Egypt, Jordan and a handful of others continue to work with U.S. officials to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and other challenges, it is a process that

continues to fall

Behind the scenes,

left to

silent diplomacy.


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