The Biden Doctrine in Gaza: Bomb, Starve, Deceive

ANGLO AMERICA, 11 Mar 2024

Aaron Maté – TRANSCEND Media Service

(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images)

The White House unveils a new PR stunt for Gaza aid while hiding US arms transfers to Israel.

8 Mar 2024 – At his State of the Union address yesterday, President Biden announced that the US military will install a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver emergency aid to the besieged enclave, where more than 2.2 million Palestinians face a humanitarian crisis, including starvation. The pier, which will take weeks if not months to complete, will be built by US soldiers.

The US, Biden claimed, “has been leading international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza” and believes that “protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.”

In reality, the emergency project underscores Biden’s real priority: to prolong Israel’s rampage in Gaza, the US is even willing to deploy its own military for face-saving public relations stunts.

With criticism of Biden’s Gaza complicity increasing inside the Democratic Party, and threatening him at the ballot box, the pier is the latest in a series of token gestures aimed at feigning concern for Gazans while providing unfettered support to the Israeli government that is indiscriminately attacking them.

The White House has carried out air drops over Gaza that amount to a few trucks’ worth of aid – compared to the thousands of trucks that Israel is blocking with US support. “The food, water, and medical supplies so desperately needed by people in Gaza are sitting just across the border,” Doctors Without Border said Friday. “Israel needs to facilitate rather than block the flow of supplies.”

Even those trucks that can enter Gaza have been unable to make safe deliveries after Israel attacked their Hamas police escorts and crowds of desperate civilians lining up to receive aid. One air drop has even killed five Palestinian civilians and wounded others when a parachute failed to open.

The US military pier, Biden claimed, “will enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.” His own aides acknowledge that this is a ruse. According to the Washington Post, administration officials quietly concede that “only by securing the opening of additional land crossings would there be enough aid to prevent famine.” And given that the pier will take at minimum 30 days to complete, that “[raises] questions about how famine in Gaza will be staved off in the critical days ahead,” the New York Times notes.

The White House has given the answer: rather than compel Israel to open those land crossings and prevent famine, it is instead adopting the Israeli position that the land crossings can be used as a tool of leverage against Hamas — and that Israel can control everything that gets in. In ceasefire talks, Israel has demanded that Hamas release hostages in exchange for, at best, a six-week pause to the massacre.

As one US official told the Post, such a deal would allow for a “significant surge” in aid delivery. The choice of words is striking: for months, US officials have been promising to “surge” aid into Gaza. The fact that such a “surge” is now explicitly conditional underscores that those prior vows were a lie, and a cynical cover for the actual policy of helping Israel block aid to the people of Gaza.

In a Selma, Alabama speech that was widely mischaracterized as a call for a ceasefire, Vice President Kamala Harris explained the White House stance. “Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire,” Harris told a crowd, drawing effusive applause. But after a pause, she added the qualifier: “– for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table.” The onus, she added, is entirely on Hamas, which “needs to agree to that deal.” If they do, then the agreement “will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in.”

The very fact that the delivery of “a significant amount” of aid is conditional on Hamas accepting Israeli demands underscores that Israel, with US backing, is using that aid as a tool of coercion. This directly contradicts Biden’s claim, in his State of the Union address, that such assistance cannot be “a bargaining chip.”

While backing Israel’s blockade, the White House continues to expedite weapons transfers to Israel while hiding them from the public footing the bill.

According to the Washington Post, the US has made more than 100 sales of weaponry to Israel since Oct. 7th. Only two of those transfers were made public – and in both of those cases, the White House invoked emergency powers to bypass Congressional review.

To avoid standard disclosures, the administration sent the weapons “in smaller batches that fall below a dollar threshold that requires the administration to notify Congress,” the Wall Street Journal reports, a method that comes as part of “a broader pattern in which the Biden administration has sought to avoid scrutiny from Congress.” And there are far more sales to come: according to the Journal, the US has “600 active cases of potential military transfer or sales worth more than $23 billion between the U.S. and Israel.”

“There’s nothing that Israel can say that it has not gotten,” an Israeli military official noted. “Israel got basically what it needed.” And Biden is committed to meeting Israel’s needs. Asked about his critics on Gaza, Biden told the New Yorker: “I think they have to give this just a little bit of time.”

Biden is devoted to ensuring more “time” for Israeli mass murder even though it directly threatens his re-election chances, as illustrated by the more than 140,000 “uncommitted” votes in the Michigan and Minnesota primaries.

In a bid to save his chances in Michigan, the White House deployed top aides to meet with Arab-American voters ahead of the vote. According to a recording of one such meeting,  Deputy National Security Jon Finer relayed his regrets as follows: “We have left a very damaging impression based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the president, the administration and the country values the lives of Palestinians.” Therefore, according to the White House, the problem is not that Biden is helping Israel exterminate Palestinian lives, the problem is that voters are unaware how much he secretly “values” the people he’s helping to exterminate.

Finer went on to demonstrate the limitations on that valuation. Yes, he acknowledged, Israeli leaders have compared “residents of Gaza to animals.” But rather than condemn this genocidal rhetoric and stop arming the government spouting it, the White House had no choice but to continue arming them. “Out of a desire to sort of focus on solving the problem and not engaging in a rhetorical back-and-forth with people who, in many cases, I think we all find somewhat abhorrent,” Finer explained, “we did not sufficiently indicate that we totally rejected and disagreed with those sorts of sentiments.”

Indeed, it would be incongruent for the Biden administrating to publicly rebuke the Israeli government while privately rushing it weapons to help exterminate the Gazan “animals.”

Which explains why, five months into Israel’s genocidal campaign, the White House’s empty gestures have extended beyond mere empty words to costly, empty stunts by sea and air.


Aaron Maté is a journalist with The Grayzone, where he hosts “Pushback.” He is also a contributor to Real Clear Investigations and the temporary co-host of “Useful Idiots.” In 2019, Maté won the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for Russiagate coverage in The Nation.


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