By Sophie Squire
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Why did Biden call on Israel to move to a ceasefire?

This article is over 2 years, 9 months old
Issue 2756
Vice-president met Netanyahu in Israel in 2016
Vice-president Biden met Netanyahu in Israel in 2016 (Pic: US embassy Tel Aviv)

After devastating assaults on Gaza which killed 248 Palestinians US president Joe Biden called for a “pathway to a ceasefire” last Wednesday.

In the days before Biden had been sure to affirm that Israel had a right to “defend itself” as the bloodshed unfolded.

And as Israeli airstrikes rained down death, the US blocked a UN security council statement four times in support of de-escalating the violence.

In the end, because of the US refusal to back it, it was scrapped.

Biden’s ceasefire call was not about preserving Palestinian lives. It was to do with an assessment of the resistance to Israel and satisfying US allies.

The US is attempting to contain the waves of solidarity that spread across the Middle Eastwhich forced some Arab leaders to speak out against Israel.

Biden mentioned that alongside Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu he has also been having conversations with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

He thanked the Egyptians for their role in brokering the agreement.


The US secretary of state Antony Blinken reportedly intends to visit Israeli and Palestinian leaders soon. He will also stop in Egypt and Jordan.

The US does not want to lose its Arab allies—or for them to face mass movements on the streets. Donald Trump’s method was to stand with every significant demand from Israel and to try to force Arab leaders to make deals with Israel.

Biden has instead tried to look more “balanced”.

Battle within a terror state
Battle within a terror state
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But Biden still stated he, “fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and Palestinian terrorist organisations.”

And also pledged his “full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.”

While pledging some meagre handouts to Palestinians, Biden made clear that “We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.”

Significantly, once Biden had decided a ceasefire was a good idea, Israel agreed to one. It’s sometimes suggested that Israel determines US policy.

But although Israel does not always act exactly as the US wants, the dominant direction of influence is that US imperialism uses Israel.

The US is therefore fully implicated in all of Israel’s crimes. It is Biden’s continuing support that enables Netanyahu and his partners in Israel to carry out murder.


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