President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday about the ensuing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, reportedly telling Netanyahu, just nine days after Hamas originally launched rockets toward Israel, that he expects tensions will de-escalate. Behind the scenes, the president has nonetheless flirted with antisemitic Democrats such as members of “the squad,” who have called for violence against Israel.
The White House said Biden “had a detailed discussion of the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States.” Israel Defense Forces launched an operation called “Guardian of the Walls” to combat the attacks from the terrorists. Thus far, terrorists residing in Palestinian-run areas have launched more than 3,750 rockets, with 500 of them having fallen in Gaza.
“The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the White House said in a statement.
In recent days, the number of rockets being launched toward Israel by Hamas has decreased due to the Israel Defense Force’s success in retaliation. IDF figures indicate that the destruction of tunnels and the killing of hundreds of terrorists has led to an 80 percent decrease in rocket fire.
The Biden administration approved $735 million worth of arms to be sent to Israel on Monday. On Tuesday, Netanyahu ordered the IDF “to continue to strike” in addition to thanking Biden for “serious backing.”
“The directive is to continue to strike at terrorist targets,” Netanyahu said. “We will continue to act as necessary to restore peace and security to all residents of Israel.”
“There is always pressure but, all in all, we are receiving very serious backing, first of all from the U.S. Again, I would like to thank our friend, President Joe Biden, and also the many other countries that have truly taken incredible steps such as flying the Israeli flag over their government buildings,” the prime minister said on Sunday. “We have international backing, and we are using it in our natural right to self-defense, as well.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi thanked the United States on Twitter for blocking a United Nations Security Council statement that allegedly was not taking a hard line against Hamas and its terrorist activity.
“I told [Blinken] that [Israel] would continue to act against the terrorists of [Hamas] until peace was restored to the communities in the south & center of the country,” Ashkenazi said. “We thank our good friend, the [United States], for standing with us and giving us her steadfast support.”
I just finished another important call with #US Secretary of State @SecBlinken.
I thanked him for his condemnation of #Hamas' terrorism and backing Israel's right to defend itself, I also thanked him for US support today at the #UN Security Council.
— גבי אשכנזי – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) May 17, 2021
Conflict in the Middle East has resulted in policy disagreement between Biden and far-left Democrats. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has been critical of Biden’s support of Israel and called Netanyahu a “[f]ar right ethnonationalist.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., compared Israel defending its homeland from terrorists to South African apartheid on the House floor.
Despite Tlaib’s hostility toward Israel, however, Biden told the congresswoman in Michigan on Tuesday that she is a “fighter” and applauded her leadership.
“Now Rashid [sic] … I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people,” Biden said to Tlaib on stage. “You’re a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter.”
Biden later evaded questions about Israel and joked that he would use his truck to run over the reporter who asked them.
Former Vice President Mike Pence called out Biden in an op-ed on Monday, saying the president has displayed “weakness” that led to the Middle East conflict.
“President Biden and congressional Democrats have abandoned unambiguous support for our ally Israel, emboldened our enemies, and turned their back on the policy that yielded historic peace deals in the Middle East,” Pence wrote in National Review.