Biden’s Arms Cutoff to Israel: A Misstep with Dire Consequences

Opinion | President Biden Just Made His Biggest Blunder: Halting Bomb Delivery to Israel

In a recent development, President Biden announced a halt to the delivery of 3,500 bombs to Israel, with the commendable aim of protecting innocent Palestinians from the military consequences of Hamas using Rafah as its final fortress in Gaza. However, the implications of this decision could have far-reaching and unintended consequences.

How the Munitions Cut-off Aids Hamas

The ongoing crisis in Gaza is principally a result of Hamas’s actions: initiating the war ruthlessly, utilizing civilians as shields, attacking border crossings handling humanitarian aid, and callously retaining 132 Israeli hostages, living or deceased. Rather than aiding Israel, this arms embargo is a propaganda triumph and tactical victory for Hamas, emboldening them to persist in their tactics.

Protracting, not Ending, the War

It’s crucial to understand that no Israeli government, even one led by a more moderate figure than Benjamin Netanyahu, will abandon Gaza while Hamas retains control of any part of the territory. If the Biden administration has strategies for achieving this without removing Hamas from Rafah, they are yet to share them.

The Realities of War

With the potential barring of precision-guidance kits, Israel may resort to using less accurate 120-millimeter tank shells and 5.56-millimeter bullets. As a result, Israeli troops are at heightened risk, and the toll on Palestinians may increase following protracted house-to-house combat.

A Recipe for a Broader War

Limiting Israel’s deterrence power might provoke further conflict. The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, deterred from a full-scale attack due to fears of its estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles being decimated by the Israeli Air Force, may exploit reports of Israeli munitions shortages as an opportune moment to strike.

Unintended Foreign-Policy Consequences

Israel may respond to doubts about American reliability as an ally by seeking greater independence from Washington’s influence, potentially deepening ties with Beijing and Moscow. This would further strain U.S.-Israel relations, and could strengthen Netanyahu and his far-right political allies who assert that they alone can stand up to a liberal president who succumbs to pressure from anti-Israel campus protesters.

The Political Gift to Donald Trump

Biden’s decision may further alienate pro-Israel voters and only partially satisfy anti-Israel ones, cementing the perception of Biden as weak and unable to stand firm against his party’s left flank. This move recalls the political fallout from the U.S. abandonment of Afghanistan and could prove similarly damaging to the president’s approval rating.

In conclusion, there is an urgent need for President Biden to reconsider this poorly considered decision. An arms embargo that weakens Israel in the face of multiple threats is an unworthy move from a president whose unflinching support for the Jewish state has been, and should continue to be, a defining aspect of his presidency.