Joe Biden Draws a Red Line

So President Biden has had enough. He says he will stop sending bombs and artillery shells to Israel if it launches a major invasion of Rafah.

“We’re not walking away from Israel’s security. We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas,” Biden said.

Biden said while the US would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, including for its Iron Dome air defense system, other shipments would end should a major ground invasion of Rafah begin.

“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently,” he said. “But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to – we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells.”

Already, the US has paused a shipment of “high-payload munitions” due to Israel’s possible operations in Rafah without a plan for the civilians there, according to the Pentagon, though it said a final decision on that shipment hadn’t been made. The administration has said it is reviewing the potential sale or transfer of other munitions.

Israeli officials reacted with anger, CNN says, but I wonder if any of them have considered the position they’ve put President Biden in, never mind the United States? Republicans in Congress are furious, also, since they don’t seem to have a problem with the starvation and massacre of Palestinians.

As usual, I learn a lot from reading Josh Marshall:

Let me note that it’s not crazy to want to attack Hamas in its final hold out. Israel went into this war with the goal not of eroding but destroying Hamas’ military capability. Rafah is where they’re holed up. If you still want to destroy their military capacity you need to finish Hamas off there.

But of course that’s not the only thing going on. There are a still an undetermined number of hostages who desperately need to be freed. There is a cataclysmic number of Gazan civilians who have already been killed. There is a huge reputational hit Israel and the United States have already taken over all of this. Then there’s the touch and go issue of keeping the rest of Gaza’s civilian population from dipping into famine. There’s vastly more aid going in now than there was a month ago. But it takes mountains of food to feed over 2 million people. Final point: precisely because the Netanyahu government consistently refused to devise any plan for who would administer Gaza on the day after, Hamas operatives have streamed back in to much of the strip and are already, at least partly, reasserting some control. So the gain to be had in a final fight with Hamas in Rafah — quite apart from the potential vast sacrifice in human life — has already been significantly diminished by decisions Netanyahu made to cut off the possibility even of movement toward a Palestinian state. In other words, yes, Netanyahu made a bigger priority of avoiding even the medium-to-long-term possibility of Palestinian state over destroying Hamas.

After October 7 I read in several places that Netanyahu had long tended to undercut the Palestinian National Authority in favor of Hamas, which makes no sense unless you consider that Netanyahu and Hamas agree on one thing — they’re both opposed to a two-state solution.

Well, we’ll see how this goes.

In other news: Trump lawyer Susan Necheles is grilling Stormy Daniels to trip her up, trying to discredit her story. Necheles is also trying to get Daniels to admit she’s been trying to capitalize on her story of The Encounter with Trump. I’m not sure what the point of this is, though. Daniels’s motivations are not the issue here. A lawyer arranged for her to get money for her story; that much is not in question. The trial is about how she was paid. From what I can tell from the New York Times live feed, Daniels has been holding her own.

14 thoughts on “Joe Biden Draws a Red Line

  1. After October 7 I read in several places that Netanyahu had long tended to undercut the Palestinian National Authority in favor of Hamas, which makes no sense unless you consider that Netanyahu and Hamas agree on one thing — they’re both opposed to a two-state solution.

    I previously read that too, in various sources.  And it may be the reason that Israel is allowing Hamas, in its wake of devastation, to come back into control in Gaza.  But if Israel's goal, per Josh Marshall, is to destroy Hamas military capability, there's only two ways to do that, either destroying all of its weapons of war, or, all of its fighters.  Seems like it may be the latter, which could be why Gaza residents were told to decamp to Rafah, and now that they are concentrated there, to be targeted for destruction, under the assumption that many of them will be fighters and anyone else killed is collateral damage.

    But what's less discussed in the calculations are two people who have much to gain from Israel's continued destruction and now starvation in Gaza, and how they mutually benefit: Trump and Netanyahu. Netanyahu knows that his continued disregard for civilian life in Gaza, and the impending starvation of people there is hurting Joe Biden politically, and could cost his reelection.  That's good for Trump obviously, but also good for Netanyahu because with Trump in office, he'll have a free hand to do pretty much whatever, with no interruption of the flow of offensive weapons from the US.  And republicans won't take the same political hit Biden and the democrats will from "supporting Israel's right to exist" when that means continued damn near indiscriminate bombing of civilians and intentionally starving them to death, with the help of US munitions.  Both Trump and Netanyahu face legal reckonings, and Netanyahu knows he can stave his off as long as the bombs keep dropping.  Long enough, and it may see Trump reelected, at which point, he'll end his own.

    Lastly, Hamas was able to do what it did on Oct 7 last year, not so much because of the military capability of Hamas that Israel says must be completely destroyed, but with men carrying light arms, and more importantly, a security lapse on Israel's part, which Netanyahu needs to answer for. "Destroying Hamas military capability," and all that implies, will not prevent another attempted Oct. 7th like attack. But it could lead to the defeat of Biden, election of Trump, and the staving off of Netanyahu's own political/legal issues.  The sad part is, too many innocents in Gaza are paying the price for it.

  2. ..Necheles is also trying to get Daniels to admit she’s been trying to capitalize on her story of her story of The Encounter with Trump. I’m not sure what the point of this is, though.

    Trump denied he ever had sex with Daniels – is why Necheles cross-examined her way she did.

      • It makes you wonder if Trump can be extorted so easily by Stormy Daniels to satisfy his own ambitions why anybody would have faith in his moral ability and integrity to defend the values we all hold dear if they conflict with his self interest.

          Trump is just a massive bag of shit. Satan incarnate. Today Senator Scott showed up in court to support Trump. He claims Trump is his friend. It makes me seriously wonder how anybody can use the word friend in their relationship in regard to that self serving bag of shit. Scott desecreates the concept of friendship by wrapping his craven attemp to cling to the coattails of power that he perceives emanates from Trump lies. They all know that Trump has no truth in him. 

         Trumps lies have been have been radiant for all the world to see and anybody who refuses to see them does so willfully.

         I have to go back to the scripture…What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his soul? I don't regard the word soul in that scripture as meaning gaining entrance to heaven. I mean it to be understood as being able to adhere to the truth.

        • I can imagine the OT constantly hounding numerous people to show up on his behalf, so few takers must be a bit of a bummer (boo hoo) but certainly speaks volumes about how people you might naturally expect to show up really feel about him.

  3. From my viewpoint, Trump and his lawyers are not trying to defend Trump in terms of a "Not Guilty" verdict. They are trying to repair the damage the guilty verdict will do UNLESS Trump can convince moderates, that Trump is actually innocent of trying to conceal infidelity. 

    This will be the master class in gaslighting – to admit you paid a porn star and your lawyer more than a quarter of a million dollars to cover up a one-night stand that never actually happened! It may be that Hope Hicks will be the one who did Trump in – she confirmed that Cohen paid Stormy to keep the story quiet. HH is/was obviously on Trump's side so her testimony will be ironclad with the jury and she confirmed the element that Daniels and Cohen might have a motive to manufacture.  That being: Trump approved the payoff before the election.

    Re Danials' testimony – I understand from the transcript that Trump's lawyer pounded her with the job description that she's paid to make up sex stories. Her reply was brilliant, especially in context. She said if she was making one up, she'd make up a better story than the truth. I understand that the prosecution tidied up the details of what Team Trump claimed were inconsistencies in Danials' testimony. I was not there, but they say she was more relaxed on cross-examination than when she was in direct (by the prosecutor) examination. Will they bring up Cohen tomorrow? 

    • So glad to see Stormy holding her on against the onslaught with savvy poise, she is nobody's fool, the porn star is more real than the reality star.

  4. Biden must have done something right or Ms. Lindsey would not be in full hysteria mode.  

    The defense could not paint Stormy as the villain though it tried its best to do so.  

    War is like a fire.  Once started it goes on until the fuel is used up or the temperature is reduced.  

    Some days, when one successfully puts two sentences together, you know it is time to quit writing.  

  5. OT, but one of the best essays I've seen in a long time. It's been circulating around the web, originally appeared in the LA Times a week ago. By Francis Wilkinson, The Supreme Court just showed us that Trump is not incompetent. He's a master of corruption 

    I have badly underestimated Donald Trump. Thursday was the day that his justices — it turns out that they are indeed his justices on the Supreme Court, just as he claimed — got it through my thick head: Trump is not just competent but masterful. He is not just capable, he is supreme.

    Because Trump is clumsy at his alleged crimes, surrounding himself with flagrant thugs, telling obvious lies, leaving prolific trails of damning evidence, offering ridiculous defenses for indefensible conduct, I had long concluded that he is incompetent at crookery along with his other manifest failings. That’s true as far as it goes.

    But for all his mad greed and compulsive lawlessness, for all his sleaze and stupidity, crime is ultimately not Trump’s game. Trump is nothing like a master criminal. But he is a master of something far more sinister and complex: corruption.

    Crime is a largely private endeavor. Corruption is public. It seeps into the muscle and sinew of democratic society and institutions; it devours from within. The Supreme Court, drunk on arrogated power, cut loose from rudimentary ethics, has been eaten alive by it. But the court is just one plot of a vast terrain that Trump has conquered — not with crime, but corruption.

    Crime is when you launch a violent attempt to overthrow the republic. Corruption is when you convince an entire political party to pretend they didn’t watch it live on television, or cower from it inside the Capitol while dozens of police officers were being bludgeoned by the mob.

    Crime is when you make off with top-secret documents. Corruption is when a MAGA judge can’t find time to schedule your trial, or process the mountainous evidence of your guilt….

    …The Republican Party has been corrupted absolutely. House Republicans have combined McCarthyism with Larry, Moe and Curlyism to twist Congress to comically corrupt ends — all to serve the greater degeneracy of Trump. In the Senate, the young hyenas, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), study Trump’s demagogy and lick their chops, hoping for a turn at democracy’s carcass…

  6. Don't forget other hyenas: Elise Stefanik and Katie Britt .

    But I blame Biden also and others with him, as they confirmed John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas . the rotten court has a source, Leonard Leo, Ginni's friend and funder . we pay the price for a rubber stamp senate. Which also rubber stamped wars (Iraq Afghanistan)unnecessary to be fought.what do you want to bet that the senate will pass the antisemitism awareness act? Does the US government define words or does Webster's dictionary?

    Hamas and hostages are not the issue. Hamas is not an existential threat.(Iran may be as iron dome is shields down currently). The only issue is Israeli officials' desire to exterminate palestinians from Gaza. Which is what they promised to do and are doing.

    Unfortunately Biden's hot and cold is another performance.

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