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Reports Claim Biden Is Losing Patience With Israel, His Actions Say Otherwise

“[Biden] has a lot of tools he can use. Leaks about how frustrated he is are among the weakest,” said one policy expert.

Framed by television cameras, U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a statement urging Congress to pass his national security supplemental request from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on December 6, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

The beltway news outlet Axios on Sunday reported that President Joe Biden and other administration officials are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Israeli government’s intransigence on the situation in Gaza, but critics outraged by unwavering U.S. support for the “genocidal” attack on Gaza that has been ongoing for 100 days had this to say: Where’s the substantive evidence for that?

Axios cited one unnamed official familiar with the hidden sentiments of the White House, who said, “The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president’s patience is running out.”

The outlet also quoted Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a close ally of the president, who argued that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyu “has given Biden the finger” at nearly every turn. Administration officials, added Van Hollen, “are pleading with the Netanyahu coalition, but getting slapped in the face over and over again.”

But critical observers like journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept met the new reporting with deep skepticism.

“Let’s unpack this: We are supposed to believe Biden’s ‘patience is running out’ with Israel while he offers full political support, gives ’emergency’ munitions to fuel the slaughter in Gaza, and is trying to shield his ‘great, great friend’ Bibi from international law?” tweeted Scahill. “Okay.”

An estimated 400,000 people marched in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to demand a cease-fire in Gaza and denounce the U.S. policy that gives full and unconditional support to Israel, including the massive shipment of arms over the last three months of a bombing campaign and military incursion into Gaza that has killed an estimated 24,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 children.

Biden has been unwavering in his public support for Israel’s response to the Hamas-led attacks of October 7 even as the Netanyahu government this past week faced genocide charges at the International Court of Justice for its disproportionate military response, forced displacement, destruction of life-sustaining infrastructure, and refusal of humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Following a phone call between the U.S. president and Netanyahu that took place on December 23 — which according to the new Axios reporting is the last time he has spoken with his Israeli counterpart — Biden said he did press about “the critical need to protect the civilian population” in Gaza but “did not ask for a cease-fire.”

While the international community watched the “overhwhelming and devastating” genocide case brought by the South African delegation before the ICJ on Thursday, the position from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was that the charges were “meritless.”

Critics of the U.S. stance found the idea that Biden and other officials are now somehow frustrated difficult to stomach:

Matt Duss, former foreign policy advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and now executive vice-president at the Center for International Policy, also responded to the Axios reporting.

“Turns out that promising unconditional support no matter what isn’t a good way to get someone to do something different,” said Duss. “If the president is really frustrated, he has a lot of tools he can use. Leaks about how frustrated he is are among the weakest.”

Noting that not once but twice over recent weeks, as Common Dreams has reported, Biden bypassed Congress to approve arms sales to Israel, Duss argued that Biden would have real leverage over Israel if he chose to deploy it in a serious manner.

“Sidestepping Congress twice over the past five weeks to rush ammunition to Israel sends a far clearer message than leaks about the president’s frustration,” he said.

Marking the 100th day of Israel’s attack on Gaza, the U.S.-based advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace on Sunday made plain how defenders of Palestinian rights see the U.S. government as complicit in the carnage.

“In the past 100 days the Israeli government, with full U.S. backing, has worked to systematically wipe out Gaza’s Palestinian population,” the group said.

JVP said that while it will “never forget the continued resilience and steadfastness of Palestinians living through this horror,” it added that it would equally “never forget the complicity of our government and elected officials in these atrocities.”

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