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Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one of the most unimaginative and naive men on the planet. I realize that he is only espousing the line of the Biden Administration, but first he advocates one strategy and then explains why it is impractical to implement it.
On his latest visit to Israel today, he gave a speech trying to put his discussions with the president and prime minister of Israel in the best possible light. That’s just good politics. But I continue to be exasperated at his insistence that a “humanitarian pause” must be implemented, when that strategy will only work to the detriment of Israel. First, I’m not convinced that we can know which Palestinians should be entitled to humanitarian aid. Do they have special identification cards? Do they have to take an oath on the Koran that they don’t support Hamas? How do we know that they aren’t at least sympathetic to Hamas and will transfer supplies, either voluntarily or with the threat of force, to Hamas? How will Israel prevent Hamas from re-arming?
Then, there is the question of how long a “pause” should be. Will there be several small ones? How long will they be? Hours? Days? Weeks? Who gets to make that decision? What if Hamas violates the agreement? What will they do when Hamas, subtly or obviously, steals supplies, including fuel? Will the humanitarian pause involve the release of hostages? How will that be assured and implemented? What if they extend the release of hostages in the middle of the process? Who has the authority to insist that they follow through? What if hostage corpses, not living people, are returned?
My biggest question is why the US believes it is entitled to “help” Israel negotiate any of these terms. How much power over Israel can they demand because of the arms they are supplying? What if the US and Israel reach a roadblock about any of these efforts? Who will be forced to cave in?
Two of the most foolish proposals presented by Biden are not a surprise, but extremely impractical. The first one is that the only solution after the war is over is a two-state solution. I believe that died on October 7. Besides, driving the Jews into the sea is not just a Hamas mission; it is shared by many Palestinians. When a reporter asked Blinken about the extremist ideology that could remain, even after Hamas is defeated, Blinken replied, “We’ll just need to come up with a better idea.”
I assume that Israel is going along with the U.S. interference for a couple of reasons. First, they might actually learn something in these discussions. Talking together also builds relationships and at least creates the illusion of cooperation. But ultimately, I expect them to keep talking for quite a long time.
Talk is cheap.Published in