Biden panders to uncommitted voters

Supporters of Palestine pressure the Biden administration to act.

During the primary elections a few weeks ago, pro-Palestinians decided to vote uncommitted on the Democratic ballot, disaffiliating themselves with Biden as a form of protest against him and his policy on Gaza. This policy even became famous with Representative Rashid Tlaib, the only Palestinian in Congress, announcing that she, too, voted uncommitted. The power of this policy manifested most clearly in Minnesota and Michigan with 19% and 13% of the vote being uncommitted, respectively. Since this time, there have been multiple indications of Biden shifting his rhetoric on Gaza in order to appeal more to pro-Palestinians. Still, he continues to provide Israel with funds to continue its genocidal acts and has not changed his unconditional support for Israel despite reports in the media saying otherwise. These reports came with the US proposal of a “ceasefire” resolution at the United Nations.

At the end of March, the United Nations heard a proposal submitted by the US that recognized the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Because of this recognition, the media reported that the US proposed a ceasefire resolution, however, there was no rhetoric in the proposal requiring Israel to stop its genocide of Gaza as the proposal only made this claim without actually demanding it be put in place. In other words, there was no active urge on the part of the US to institute a ceasefire policy. Rather, the proposal was effectively a green light for Israel to continue in siege over Gaza, according to Russia and China who vetoed the resolution. After they vetoed, the news reported that Russia and China vetoed a ceasefire resolution, villainizing the two in this situation with even the US ambassador to the UN calling their reasoning “cynical” and “petty” when it was not. After the US’s proposal failed, a new proposal was submitted that urged for a ceasefire until the end of Ramadan, which, at that time, was in two weeks, and for the release of all Israelis held in Gaza. During this time, Russia proposed an amendment calling for a permanent ceasefire rather than a short, two-week ceasefire, which the US denied. If the US had truly believed in a ceasefire like it made itself out to seem and cared for both the civilians of Gaza as well as those held in the occupied territory, the US should have accepted the amendment, and, at least, voted yes for the proposal even without the amendment. Instead, it abstained from voting, reaffirming the US’s support for genocide. Clearly then, the US does not care about the people of Gaza. It has not shifted its policy at all, instead only changing its rhetoric and playing the media to its advantage to appease those who voted uncommitted in the Democratic primaries so that he may gain their votes in November.

Kamala Harris did something similar weeks ago after the primaries. In a conference, she recognized the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, then when the audience clapped and cheered after she paused like it was the end of her sentence, she continued, saying that she wanted it for the next six weeks. This is nowhere near what is necessary for the people of Gaza, which pro-Palestinians recognize. However, the media ran with her initial statement, ignoring the latter part of her comment, and reported that she called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Although, on the surface, what she called for fits the definition of a ceasefire as it is a cessation of hostilities, it is not what supporters of Palestinians mean when they call for a ceasefire. They want something permanent because, again, that is what Gaza needs and for Israel to have to abide by the agreements, which is contrary to actuality. If only a temporary, six-week ceasefire was instituted, there would be no end to the violence. Israel would be able to kill at its discretion, which is no different than how it is now. Thus, a six-week ceasefire with the release of those held in Gaza would only serve Israel as, after the six weeks, it would be able to relentlessly bomb Gaza without fear of domestic backlash for murdering one of its own citizens.

Additionally, history shows that even during this six-week pause, Israel would not have stopped murdering Gazans as even in times of long-term ceasefire, Israel does not actually cease its hostilities. It continues to launch missiles at Palestinian homes, snipe individuals walking on the street, attack other forms of civilian infrastructure and much more. Statistic after statistic shows civilian Palestinian deaths in these times of so-called ceasefire, showing that Israel does not abide as it murders civilians, which is completely contrary to what one must do when abiding by ceasefires. Every major so-called war, like the ones in 2008 and 2014, was started by Israel because it refused to follow ceasefires and international law despite the media reporting that Hamas, unprovoked, launched an attack on the settler colony. For instance, the current bout of violence is a result of multiple factors including Israel launching a missile at a civilian family in their home days prior and continually attacking worshippers at Al-Aqsa mosque, especially during Ramadan.

Even if we completely ignore the physical acts of violence committed by Israel against civilians, blockades are considered acts of war, meaning that Israel has been declaring war on Gaza for nearly 20 years as it maintains a strict blockade over the occupied territory. So long as this blockade that has been in effect since Israel supposedly left Gaza two decades ago remains, then Israel is breaking ceasefire agreements, and any attack on Israel, even if Israel does stop murdering civilians in their homes, is in the context of a war declared by Israel. Thus, all attacks are responses to Israel’s declaration of war and not something started by Hamas. In times of so-called ceasefire, then, it is Israel that violates the agreements and declares war. Before Hamas’s counterattack on Oct. 7, 2023, this was the kind of ceasefire the US was okay with — one in which Palestinians are the only people made to abide, or Israel will break every international law, but Israel is free to continue its slow genocide of Gaza and Palestinians more generally. This is the ceasefire Harris was advocating for, but with a time limit of only six weeks. The US, then, wishes to continue its extermination policy. It does not waiver in its support of genocide or the settler colony that was founded on genocide and has been committing it ever since, despite whatever it is that the media reports.

Even though it does not indicate an actual shift in US policy, the attempt of the Biden administration to make it seem as though they support a ceasefire shows that the pressure applied to them by the uncommitted vote and by the Palestinian movement as a whole is working. This moderate pandering is a form of recognition, an indication that Biden understands that he has lost the support of pro-Palestinians, making him fear a loss of the election in November as pro-Palestinians make up much of the vote, and an unintentional green light for Palestine supporters to continue applying pressure to administration because it is, to at least some degree, working.

Post Author: Heba Saleh