Biden issues an ultimatum, but Netanyahu reveals a red line of his own

Days after the Israel Defense Forces accidentally fired on a convoy of workers from the World Central Kitchen who were distributing food in Gaza last week, killing seven, President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone. According to the White House readout of the call, Biden demanded that Israel “announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers” and tied U.S. policy decisions to his administration’s assessment of “Israel’s immediate action” on those steps. 

Biden also called for an immediate ceasefire “to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians, and he urged the Prime Minister to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home.” Because nothing says solidarity quite like rewarding the enemy of your closest ally in the Middle East for using Palestinians — and American hostages — as human shields.

These demands, coming on the heels of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) call for new elections in Israel as well as the U.S.’s failure to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza last month, leaves many of us wondering just whose side the Biden administration is really on. 

Since the president’s initial display of support for Netanyahu in the immediate aftermath of the deadly Oct. 7 attacks, his actions show he is more interested in protecting the terrorists than the people of Israel. 

On Sunday, we awoke to the alarming news that the IDF had withdrawn its 98th Division from Khan Younis — in other words, the majority of its troops. (Israel’s Nahal Brigade and the 162nd Division have remained in Gaza.) Although the IDF has destroyed approximately 80% of Hamas’s military infrastructure in Gaza and 19 out of Hamas’s 24 battalions over the past six months, they have not yet accomplished the objectives that Netanyahu set out back in October: to annihilate Hamas so they could never again stage a savage attack on Israel and to secure the freedom of all the hostages. 

In order to win the war, IDF troops must invade Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza and Hamas’s last major stronghold. The IDF must rout out the terrorist group’s remaining leadership and dismantle its military infrastructure in Rafah. The Biden administration, ostensibly concerned over the large number of civilian casualties that would result in such a densely populated area, but more realistically worried about losing support from the left wing of the Democratic Party ahead of the election, is vehemently opposed to this plan and has called it a “red line.”

But in a Sunday interview with Politico, Netanyahu revealed he had a red line of his own: “We’ll go there [to Rafah]. We’re not going to leave them. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That Oct. 7 doesn’t happen again. Never happens again.”

He also told Politico he had “the tacit support of several Arab leaders for driving ahead” in the war with Hamas. “They understand that, and even agree with it quietly,” he said. “They understand Hamas is part of the Iranian terror axis.”

Netanyahu estimated the invasion of Rafah “would not take more than two months. Maybe six weeks, maybe four. … We’ve destroyed three-quarters of Hamas’s fighting terrorism battalions. And we’re close to finishing the last part in warfare.” 

In a Monday video message on X, Netanyahu said he has set a date for an invasion into Rafah. He told followers: “I received a detailed report on the [US-led ceasefire] talks in Cairo. We are constantly working to achieve our goals, first and foremost the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas.”

He added, “This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen, there is a date.”

It’s worth noting that although the IDF took full responsibility for the tragic error that triggered Biden’s offensive phone call to Netanyahu last Thursday, it may not have been all their fault. The IDF’s investigation suggests that Hamas fighters may have been involved. 

In her Monday podcast, veteran Israeli journalist Caroline Glick said that, according to an IDF report she had obtained, the WCK convoy may have been “trapped by Hamas deliberately.” 

Glick read from the report: “The IDF has revealed that Hamas deliberately drew fire to the WCK trucks. At around 10 p.m., the IDF noticed suspicious activity as a WCK vehicle was joined by a convoy of several other Hamas vehicles. Hamas terrorists then climbed onto and into the WCK truck and fired several times indiscriminately into the air to ensure that the IDF would see them.”

She continued, “The convoy then split and entered a hangar where it became difficult to distinguish between the Hamas trucks and the WCK vehicle. To prevent any harm to the aid workers, the IDF attempted to call both the WCK workers and the WCK headquarters on two separate occasions to confirm whether they were with the Hamas convoy, but nobody answered the IDF’s phone calls.” Glick said she later heard that the IDF tried to contact WCK nine times.

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“When the vehicles left the hangar over an hour after they entered it, the IDF drone unit misidentified the WCK vehicle for a vehicle from the Hamas terror convoy and mistakenly struck that vehicle.” 

Why do I find that scenario so eternally believable? More importantly, why doesn’t the Biden administration?

Elizabeth Stauffer is a contributor to the Washington Examiner, Power Line, and AFNN, and she is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation Academy. She is a past contributor to RedState, Newsmax, the Western Journal, and Bongino.com. Her articles have appeared on RealClearPolitics, MSN, the Federalist, and many other sites. Please follow Elizabeth on X or LinkedIn.

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