Biden admin split over Gaza conflict

Washington, Nov 27 (FN Bureau) US President Joe Biden’s administration has recently been plagued by internal divisions due to its inability to find unanimity on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Washington Post reported, citing White House officials. Earlier in November, some 20 White House staffers requested a meeting with the president’s top advisers to discuss the current administration’s plans to reduce the civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip, the newspaper reported. Commenting on a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, Senior Advisor Anita Dunn, and Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer, one of the officials was cited as saying that the aides resorted to familiar talking points despite listening to the staff. The administration reportedly had to be careful not to openly criticise Israeli operations. US officials were pushing Israel to minimize civilian casualties, while Biden and his advisors advocated a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict, the report said.

The previously unreported meeting underscored that Biden’s handling of perhaps the biggest foreign policy crisis of his presidency has divided the White House, which prides itself on running a disciplined and united operation, the newspaper said. Earlier this month, the Department of State said the United States had sent a “very clear message” to Israel that settler violence in the West Bank was unacceptable and that those responsible would be held accountable. In late October, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told a congressional hearing that they were closely monitoring Israeli settler violence in the West Bank and had raised the issue in talks with their Israeli counterparts.