Pro-Palestine activists block key roadway as Biden prepares for State of the Union

Hundreds of demonstrators demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip unfurled a large Palestinian flag and staged a sit-in on a major roadway the US President Joe Biden would normally use to reach the Capitol building, just minutes before he is set to address a joint session of Congress in Washington DC, United States on March 07, 2024.

(Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Time for Biden to Stop Talking and Actually Stand Up to Netanyahu

It’s time for President Biden to make one of two things clear: Are you Bibi Netanyahu’s useful idiot or are you president of the alleged "strongest nation on earth"?

President Joe Biden’s policy on the Israel-Gaza War is increasingly ineffective and incoherent. With one hand he calls on Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu to stop blocking humanitarian aid and refrain from a major ground attack on Rafah, which humanitarian experts warn would be catastrophic. On the other hand he’s sent over 100 shipments of arms to Israel since Hamas’ horrendous attack on October 7 and Israel’s wildly disproportionate attack on Gaza killing over 30,000 civilians. Israel is using this U.S. military aid to starve and kill civilians.

Biden has stated that Israel’s plans for a massive attack on Rafah—where over 1 million civilians are sheltered—is a “red line” which should not be crossed. Within 20 minutes Netanyahu spat in Biden’s face, promising to defy Biden’s red line and set up his own. Biden was caught on a “hot” mic stating that it’s time he has a “come-to-Jesus meeting” with Netanyahu over policy in Gaza.

But Bibi is making Biden look like a weak chump. It’s clear that Biden’s words will have no impact on Bibi who has devoted his political career to blocking Palestinian sovereignty and expanding Israeli settlements. But Biden has real political power over Bibi if he’s willing to stand up for his stated principals. He can suspend offensive military aid to Israel until Bibi changes Israeli policy in Gaza.

As The Guardian reminds us that President Ronald Reagan stopped Israel’s 1992 bombing of Arab civilians in Lebanon in its tracks. That summer Israel carried out an all-out assault on Beirut, cutting off food, water and power in an attempt to destroy the PLO, whose fighters were hiding in a tunnel network under the city. Then on August 12, dubbed “Black Thursday,” Israel bombed Beirut for 11 straight hours, killing more than 100 people. Reagan phoned right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to “express his outrage” and condemn the “needless destruction and bloodshed” calling the Israeli attacks a “holocaust.” Asked whether Reagan had threatened Begin with a suspension of US arms aid to Israel, Reagan’s deputy press secretary responded “I won’t discuss that.” In any case, twenty minutes after his first call with Reagan, Begin called Reagan back to say he was stopping the bombing. After putting down the phone, a surprised Reagan told an aide: “I didn’t know I had that kind of power.”

Well, President Reagan did have that kind of power and so does President Biden if he has the courage to use it.

As retired Israeli Maj General Yitzhak Brick stated in a recent interview, “All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, eight U.S. Senators have written to Biden explaining that the Israel’s obstruction of humanitarian aid violates Section 6201 of the Foreign Assistance Act which states that “no assistance shall be furnished…to any country which prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.” The Senators told Biden that “[T]he United States should not provide military assistance to any country that interferes with U.S. humanitarian assistance” (although they exempt aid for Israel’s defensive Iron Dome.)

It’s time for President Biden to make one of two things clear: Are you Bibi Netanyahu’s useful idiot or are you president of the alleged "strongest nation on earth"? Will you continue to lamely plead with an uncaring Netanyahu as the slaughter of innocent civilians continues or will you use the power required under US law to deny him the American weapons to help bring this carnage to an end?

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