The unbridgeable gap

2023. 12. 5. 20:17
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The problem lies in the imbalance.

KIM HYOUNG-GUThe author is the Washington bureau chief of the JoongAng Ilbo. Lately, some U.S. Congressional aides are saying that they are experiencing the worst work stress ever. After Hamas launched a surprise attack, Israel retaliated with an operation named Iron Swords. An aide to a member of the Democratic Party said in private that he was not able to do his job because he was getting tens of calls every day, condemning America’s pro-Israel bias and urging a humanitarian truce. Some callers send anti-war messages by playing a child’s cry over the phone.

U.S. President Joe Biden is being cornered. He visited Israel and hugged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As it was interpreted as his unwavering support for Israel and a vindication for starting the ground war against Hamas, anti-Israel protests are intensifying in the U.S. Protestors calling to “stop the war” are increasing in front of the White House, and a protestor holding a Palestinian flag and burning himself outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, shocked many. Arabs and Muslims in America are declaring a campaign against Biden.

The U.S. always sides with Israel, and there is only one justification: It respects the right to self-defense. As a total of 1,200 Israelis had been killed by the sudden attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, Israel has the right to self-protection, the U.S. believes.

The problem lies in the imbalance. The death toll in Palestine is said to have reached 15,200 in airstrikes and ground attacks since Operation Iron Swords. It is hard to apply a standard of proportionality to the terrorist group Hama’s attacks and Israel’s counterstrikes. At any rate, the number of Palestinian victims are more than 10 times that of Israel.

Although the Biden administration emphasizes “minimizing civilian casualties,” the difference in the size of aid budgeted to be sent to Israel and Palestine is remarkable. President Biden has promised $100 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians. Out of the $105 billion internal and external security budget he had submitted to Congress for approval, the portion for Israeli aid amounts to $14.3 billion. This is why Palestinian Americans criticize that they cannot trust Biden.

Biden, who has been working hard to respond to the “two wars” in Europe and the Middle East, is facing another warfront: increasing public resentment. This is the front that could be the biggest threat to his re-election if things go astray.

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