Biden Aide Secretly Admits 'Missteps' in Response to War in Gaza
The ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict is compounding Joe Biden's challenges on the political front. Despite pressure from fellow Democrats to call for a ceasefire, Biden maintains support for Israel. However, his comments characterizing casualties as “a price of waging war” have led to a decline in his popularity among his voter base.
A top aide in the Biden administration has admitted mistakes in the US government’s reaction to the Palestine-Israel war
during a private meeting with the leaders of the Arab-American community in Michigan, according to The New York Times
The statements came on the heels of several months of criticism of Israel by the White House amid the extremely high Palestinian death toll
(over 27,000 deaths reported by Gazan health officials) in the conflict.
Jon Finer, President Joe Biden’s deputy national security advisor, disclosed that the US government regrets its “missteps” since the conflict broke out.
“We have left a very damaging impression based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the president, the administration, and the country values the lives of Palestinians. And that began, frankly, pretty early in the conflict,” Finer remarked.
The war in the Gaza Strip has added to a plethora of political woes rattling Joe Biden, whose public support for Israel remains resolute while shrugging off calls by fellow Democrats for a ceasefire
26 December 2023, 15:10 GMT
The US president’s remarks disputing the casualties from Israeli airstrikes and describing fatalities as “a price of waging war” sparked public outrage, inciting mass protests demanding a ceasefire.
“The president and Mr. Finer were reflecting on concerns we have had for some time, and will continue to have as the Israeli operation proceeds, about the loss of Palestinian lives in this conflict and the need to reduce civilian harm,” Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told The New York Times.
“We emphasized that beyond communication, there needs to be a change in policies…We were clear that there would be no follow-up meetings in any capacity if there was not a shift in policy based on the tangible steps that we outlined for them today,” said Abraham Aiyash, a Democratic state representative and majority leader in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Michiganders also voiced dissatisfaction with Washington's delegation at a meeting with US government officials due to the lack of policy adjustments. The officials refrained from confirming whether they had advised or would advise the president to push for a ceasefire, but issued a letter to clarify that the government "backs" the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. However, the US has recently stopped funding the organization based on groundless Israeli accusations of UNRWA staff involvement in the October 7, 2023 attack
The Russian Foreign Ministry opposed the suspension of UNRWA funding by Western countries, emphasizing that the organization has for 75 years been providing comprehensive support to 5.9 million Palestinian refugees not only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but also in neighboring Arab countries (Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) mainly through voluntary contributions from donors.
28 December 2023, 16:39 GMT
This is not the first meeting of US-based Arab and Muslim leaders and Biden officials. In October 2023, such a gathering was convened regarding demonstrations around the White House. The president apologized for his remarks doubting Gaza’s mounting human losses, but that hasn't shaken his firm support for Israel in the war.
Last November, an online-meeting was held with leaders of the Palestinian-American community amid a significant decline in the president’s approval rating in their neighborhoods.
In a recent ABC News and Ipsos survey from January 4 to 8, only 33 percent of respondents approved of Biden. This is down from 37 percent in a similar poll conducted in September 2023. ABC News says this is the most abysmal approval rating for Biden
and any US president in the past 15 years.
A poll by NBC News early this month showed Trump with 47 percent and Biden with 42 percent in a mock election. Also, two surveys released in the same week, one by CNN/SSRS and one by Reuters/Ipsos, showed Trump ahead by four or five points.
Biden's controversial Middle East policy has added significantly to his political challenges.
The United States has effectively been isolated on the Palestinian issue in the UN Security Council due to the blocking of all efforts by the international community to end hostilities in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, Russia's UN Envoy Vassily Nebenzia said on Saturday.
"The entire Council, except for the Americans, speaks in one way or another about the lack of alternative to an immediate ceasefire, whether to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need, to release of all hostages held in the enclave, or to revive the process of political regulation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within the framework of a two-state formula," he pointed out.