White House Walks Back Biden Comment Regarding Assistance for Israel
Once again, the White House is working overtime trying to tell us what Joe Biden meant to say rather than what he actually said.
This time it was in reference to a comment that Biden made that implied he was going to set conditions for aid to Israel in its war against Hamas.
When asked about conditional aid for Israel, Biden stated that it was a “worthwhile thought,” which sent staffers into a tizzy to walk back.
Who Is Calling the Shots
The White House had actually been quiet on this front for a few months now, but that is mostly because Biden has not really been doing any off-the-cuff speaking.
That, of course, changed once Israel went to war with Hamas and US aid became a major focus.
After Biden made his “worthwhile thought” comment, the administration got blistered by conservatives for daring to put conditions on Israel when he is pouring aid into Ukraine, a country with known corruption.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby attempted to address this first, stating, "What he also said, right after acknowledging that it was ‘a worthwhile thought,’ was that the approach he has chosen to take so far has produced results and outcomes.”
He continued, "The approach that we’re taking with Israel and, quite frankly, with our partners in the region is working. It’s getting aid to people that need it. It’s getting a pause in the fighting. It’s getting hostages out. It’s getting Americans out."
So, correct me if I am wrong, but that sure sounds like there are conditions to that aid.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also addressed this issue this week. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) stated that Sullivan told him in a private meeting that he had "made it clear that the White House is not asking for any conditionality in aid. So I want to leave that very clear."
There has been a lot of speculation that behind closed doors, Biden wants Netanyahu to make the cease-fire permanent or at least continue to extend it as long as Hamas is willing to continue to release hostages.
Netanyahu, however, has stated that while he is willing to keep an elongated cease-fire, that will end no matter what on Sunday.
If not, Hamas would more than likely drag this out until it can better position and restock its fighters on the front lines.
When the cease-fire took place, the IDF was squeezing Hamas pretty hard, so it will be very telling early on once fighting resumes just how much Hamas benefitted from this prolonged cease-fire.