The question of responsibility for a tragic hospital blast in Gaza loomed large as US President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv aboard Air Force One.
Conflicting narratives from Israeli and Palestinian authorities muddled the truth, with Palestinians blaming an Israeli airstrike and Israel attributing it to an errant missile launch by the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza.
President Biden publicly sided with Israel, stating that the blast was “done by the other team – not you,” based on preliminary US intelligence and open-source data.
While Biden’s choice of a blue and white tie symbolized solidarity with Israel, his speech further emphasized his alignment.
He began by addressing the Hamas terror attack on Israel in October and the subsequent tragedy, but he offered limited discussion about the Palestinians’ plight.
This stance pleased his Israeli hosts but raised concerns about the US’s role as a mediator in the conflict.
The visit aimed primarily to offer support to a country in turmoil. Biden drew a parallel between Israel’s response to the Hamas attack and America’s reaction to 9/11, expressing an understanding of Israel’s position.
While he urged Israel to be cautious in seeking justice, he did not elaborate on past American responses to terrorism.
Joe Biden’s $100 Million Aid Pledge for Gaza and West Bank
Biden secured commitments from Israel for humanitarian aid to Gaza and announced $US100 million in aid to help civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.
However, the absence of a call for a ceasefire and his promise to provide Israel with what it needed to protect its people raised questions.
His planned meeting in Jordan, where he intended to meet Arab leaders, was canceled due to the hospital strike, depriving him of an opportunity to further sympathize with the Palestinian people.
As Biden visited Israel, the Arab nations surrounding it witnessed eruptions of anger and protests.
His visit comforted those affected by the recent terror attack but did little to address Palestinian and Muslim concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The US’s efforts to normalize relations between Israel and its neighbors and work toward a two-state solution have stalled or been derailed.
The US’s unwavering support for Israel, including its veto of a UN resolution for humanitarian pauses in the conflict, has drawn international criticism.
For decades, American presidents have attempted to mediate peace in the Holy Land. The US holds significant global influence but needs both sides to perceive it as an impartial mediator for effective peacemaking.