US President Joe Biden and his administration is under increasing pressure regarding Israel's harm to civilians as part of its attacks in the Gaza Strip, CNN is reporting. According to the network, even among the administration's allies there are those who fear that Biden and his administration will not be able to defend for a long time the manner in which Israel has reacted to the Hamas massacre on October 7, that killed 1,400 and left at least 240 hostages in Gaza. The bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp on Wednesday in which dozens of terrorists were killed according to the IDF, is seen internationally as a mass killing of innocents which increases this difficulty.
As of Thursday morning, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the number of dead in the Gaza Strip stands at 8,796 people, including - according to the Palestinians - 3,648 children and 2,290 women. Another 22,219 people were injured according to the Gazans. Even though the Ministry of Health in Gaza is under the rule of Hamas, the data it provides is accepted as completely factual by the world media, and experts say that past experience shows that, on the whole, they are not inflated . However, it is clear that many of the dead are terrorists who were eliminated by Israel, and this fact is not mentioned in the Palestinian announcements.
According to CNN, the large number of victims in Gaza is weighing heavily on senior US officials, and they are increasing the pressure on their Israeli counterparts - both in closed conversations and in public - to reduce harm to civilians. According to the network, the rapid increase in the number of dead civilians surprised American officials, who recognize that any case of mass killing will intensify the pressure on the White House to condemn Israeli actions.
"They have tremendous anxiety about killing innocent people," a source close to Biden's National Security Council told CNN. "Obviously they care a lot about it, it's not that they lack empathy."
Alongside this, the network emphasizes that, so far, the administration's empathy has not been accompanied by public condemnation of Israel, and that for the time being the White House continues to strongly emphasize its right to defend itself. CNN mentions the press briefing that National Security Council spokesman John Kirby held on Tuesday in which he admitted that from time to time Israel "does not live up to its own expectations when it comes to killing civilians." When journalists pressed him with more questions, he said that it is clear to the US that Israel is trying to reduce this type of vulnerability.
Pressure from anti-Israel protesters in US
The pressure from the anti-Israel protesters across the US is felt more and more by senior administration officials. After protesters interfered with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during testimony in Congress on Tuesday and waved their red-painted hands as a statement that the administration's hands are covered in blood, an anti-Israel activist interrupted Biden's remarks at a closed fundraising event in Minneapolis on Wednesday night.
“As a rabbi, I need you to call for a cease-fire right now.” Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg called out to Biden, and those around her rushed to provoke her and demand that she leave the venue. Rosenberg identifies as a rabbi and as a "queer Jewish woman with an obsession for Jewish history," and she often deals with LGBT rights and the Palestinian issue.
After Rosenberg lashed out, Biden replied that he supports humanitarian pauses to allow the release of the hostages in Gaza, and emphasized his actions to promote aid to the Palestinians: "I understand the emotion," he said as Rosenberg was turned away. "I'm the one who convinced Bibi to call for a cease-fire to allow the hostages to be taken out. I'm the one who talked to Egyptian President Sisi to convince him to open the Rafah crossing."
A source described by CNN as "familiar with the state of mind in the administration" was reported as saying that there is an acknowledgment that eventually public opinion regarding Israel will change, and that this fact increases the pressure on senior American officials to remind the American people of the attack by Hamas on October 7. "Hamas carried out an operation of tremendous terrorism for one purpose - to cause Israel to do exactly what it is doing now," the source said.
The Arabs are running away from the Democratic Party
Biden is at the start of an election year, in which he hopes to win next November and serve another term as president of the United States. For the time being, he is facing a repeat battle for the position with former President Donald Trump, who, despite his legal troubles, is leading by a huge margin for the Republican nomination. Although polls show that most Americans support Israel in the war against Hamas, since the beginning of the war there has been a decline in the general rate of support for Biden, and severe criticism has been leveled at him by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and by Arab and Muslim voters.
A survey published this week by the Arab-American Institute shows that, since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, the support of American Arabs for Biden has halved, from 35% to 17%. This is a dramatic dive in relation to the 2020 elections, in which Biden enjoyed the support of 59% of Arabs. The survey also shows that for the first time since the Institute's surveys began in 1997, the majority of Arabs in the U.S. do not identify as Democrats: 32% consider themselves Republicans and 31% define themselves as independents. Some 40% of those surveyed said that in the 2024 election they would vote for Trump.
These data may have great significance, because Arab voters have an important weight in several key states in the US elections, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In states where the battle is very close, the loss of Arab voters - even if not the majority - could cost Biden dearly. Besides, If the candidate facing Biden is Trump, his critics within the Democratic Party and among independents will face a difficult dilemma, because not voting for Biden will increase Trump's chances of victory, and one of his first steps as president in 2016 was to impose a ban on the entry of citizens from a number of Muslim countries into the United States.
In this week's survey, 66% of Arabs reported that their position regarding Biden is now negative. Some 68% of US Arab citizens also said that the US should not send more weapons and military equipment to Israel, and that Washington should use its influence on Israel to call for a cease-fire.