The US doesn’t want to continue supporting Israel’s military operation without a commitment to the two-state solution.
Khinvraj Jangid, Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) and Director, Jindal Centre for Israel Studies (JCIS), O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
This week, the Israel-Hamas war is completing two months without any sign of how it will end and when. Israel claims it is not a time-bound war—it will end with the elimination of Hamas, and for that, Israel will fight for however long it takes. Against the wishes of its friends and allies like the United States, European powers like Germany and France or Arab states like Jordan, Egypt, and UAE, Israel has evaded questions about how long its military will be operating in Gaza. Nor does it want to share with them its vision for post-Hamas Gaza, though it is highly unlikely that Hamas will be pushed out of Gaza by the Israeli military.
For Hamas, the war is all about escaping the Israeli military attacks, hiding in tunnels or in South Gaza with the civilian population. It still has around 130 Israeli hostages, as per Israel’s count, and this gives Hamas an advantage over them in the coming weeks. The seven-day pause in bombing was negotiated based on the release of 81 Israelis and an additional 24 foreign workers in exchange for 150 Palestinians detained in Israel. The people of Gaza had short respite and much-needed aid and assistance.
Rising tension between Netanyahu & Biden
US President Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel, and he went the extra mile by travelling to Israel after the 7 October Hamas attack to show solidarity with the country on 18 October. The Biden administration’s military and financial support for Israel in the current crisis is part of the historical ‘special alliance’ between the two countries.
But the attack has derailed US diplomacy in the Middle East. With the Abraham Accords, I2U2 (a multilateral forum that includes Israel, India, UAE, and the US), the ongoing Saudi-Israel normalisation deal as well as the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor announced at the G20 summit in Delhi, the US was reasserting its regional hegemony in the Middle East. It was in the process of developing a multi-pronged strategy to counter the growing influence of China and the aggressive Iranian agenda in the region, but all of it has paused for now.
The US and Arab states like Egypt, Jordan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia would like to see Hamas defeated in this war as much as they would like to see a political resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Biden and Arab rulers are facing challenging questions from within their political establishment and larger civil society for their extended support of Israel. They will largely succeed in overcoming criticism if Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts the need for a ‘two-state’ political solution after the war.
Published in: The Print
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