President Joe Biden, who was in an embarrassing situation on board Air Force One, defended his visit to Tel Aviv. Biden claimed that 20 aid trucks would enter Gaza from the Rafah border on Friday. He hopes to raise this number to 150 soon. Even before landing in Israel, he announced that Egypt had agreed to allow the movement of aid to Gaza. But no aid trucks have crossed so far. Did all the legal actions undertaken by Anthony Blinken end in nothing?
Instead of aid trucks entering Gaza from Egypt, Israeli tanks lined up on the Gaza border shortly after Biden left and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Tel Aviv. So, what exactly did Joe Biden “do”?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that aid will not be allowed into Gaza until the hostages are released, and Hamas is adamant that no hostages will be released until there is a ceasefire. By comparison with the Russian-Ukrainian war, Palestine has been criticizing for some time what it describes as the double rhetoric of the United States.
The attack on Al-Ahli Hospital also left Biden isolated in the Arab world. Neither Egypt nor Jordan hosted it. Jordan canceled the emergency summit that was scheduled for Saturday.
In the world of diplomatic negotiations, not having a relationship with the other party is a zero-sum game. Turkey, Jordan and Qatar were playing a mediating role with Hamas regarding the hostage issue. With the exception of Qatar, the other two countries remained silent about any kind of talks after the attack on the hospital.
The blame game over who launched the missile also meant nothing in the face of Palestine’s claim that 500 people were killed. The truth is that it is the Palestinians in Gaza who are paying a heavy price.
In the midst of all this, Iran is trying to unite “the Islamic and Arab nations.” Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi called on the Islamic and Arab world to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said on Tuesday that Islamic countries are “deeply angry” at ongoing Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and warned that if they continue, these countries will “lose their tolerance.”
In the United States, demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas descended on the Capitol building. Biden’s announcement of a $100 million aid package for Gaza and Israel also drew criticism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also jumped into the mix, calling the attack on the hospital a terrible disaster. Russia also sends aid to Gaza through the Red Crescent.
The veto was used against two Security Council resolutions on Gaza, the first by Russia and the second by Brazil. On Wednesday, the United States blocked Brazil’s draft resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” to deliver life-saving aid to millions in Gaza on the grounds that it did not mention Israel’s right to self-defense. Russia and the United Kingdom abstained from voting.
So where does all this leave the Palestinians in Gaza? Did Joe Biden’s forced balancing act in providing weapons to Israel and aid to Gaza leave the issue hanging in the balance? The jury is still out.
(Srishti Shanker is Senior News Editor, NDTV 24×7)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.
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