NewsA storm brews behind Joe Biden. Israel might run out of time with Hamas handling

A storm brews behind Joe Biden. Israel might run out of time with Hamas handling

A storm brews behind Joe Biden. Israel might run out of time with Hamas handling
Images source: © GETTY | Kent Nishimura

1:03 PM EST, November 16, 2023

Over 400 US presidential officials have signed a letter urging Israel to cease military actions in the Gaza Strip and approve humanitarian aid, thereby pressuring the end of the war. Israel might not manage to handle Hamas, believes Dr. Wojciech Szewko.

"We urge President Biden to immediately demand a ceasefire, call for a de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians. Restoration of basic services including water, fuel, electrical power, and the delivery of appropriate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip is necessary," as quoted from a letter by officials from 40 agencies in President Joe Biden's administration.

The "New York Times" reported the petition's content on Tuesday. Among the officials demanding pressure on Israel are experts from the National Security Council, the Department of Justice, and the FBI. The letter was primarily signed by youthful administration employees in their 20s and 30s.

The letter cites an October survey indicating that 66 percent of Americans, including 80 percent of Democrats, think that the United States should pressure Israel into deceleration. The letter's authors term this the "retaliatory war." The Palestinian side asserts that 11,000 people have died in the land invasion.

40-day war: Is the end of the confrontation in sight?

"After 40 days of war, two issues stand out. The first one is that Israel cannot afford to leave Hamas in a state that permits continued engagement. That would mean their defeat. They want to prolong the operation to inflict as much damage as possible," explains Dr. Wojciech Szewko, lecturer at the Center for Terrorism Research at Collegium Civitas.

"The second point: Joe Biden's political backing is faltering, affecting American support for the operation. Such appeal letters, as described in American media, are unusual. This could mean pressuring Israel to enforce a halt in operation," the analyst added.

Dr. Wojciech Szewko suggests that Israel might no longer be able to inflict severe losses on Hamas. "For such an operation to be effective, it must last for months. The army has been strategically taking over the center of Gaza, step by step. "Though there are reports of occupying the Gaza administration headquarters, these are just buildings. It’s uncertain how many Hamas members were killed. The conclusive confrontation with Hamas is still a long way off," remarks the analyst.

Debates within Israel: Bomb or save hostages?

The Israeli army has reported 46 casualties in the ground invasion. Hamas released a video revealing an Israeli hostage, claimed by the fighters to have died during the bombings in Gaza.

As per WP's correspondent, these losses will increasingly impact Israeli public opinion, which is sensitive to the matter of victims. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can't ignore the public sentiment. The Israeli government is divided. Some favor continuing intense bombings, which may cause casualties among hostages, while hostages' families protest, demanding the primary release of hostages," Dr. Szewko adds.

Hamas seems to be capitalizing on these divided opinions with its latest "offer". On November 13, fighters' representatives expressed willingness to release 70 children and women held hostage. In return, Israel would have to agree to a five-day ceasefire.

Like Israel's leaders, President Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken are also against a ceasefire, which traditionally means a long-term suspension of fights usually accompanied by political negotiations. They assert that this would favor Hamas, enabling them to prepare for future attacks.

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