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OpinionIsrael at War

Biden is causing an unnecessary humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Is there anywhere else in the world where the United States has said that refugees must be forced to stay in a war zone rather than find safety?

Palestinians fleeing from Khan Yunis to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 18, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Palestinians fleeing from Khan Yunis to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 18, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

The plight of Gazans is due, first and foremost, to the invasion and massacre of Israelis by Hamas on Oct. 7. They are now suffering because they are being used as human shields by Hamas, guaranteeing that civilians will die as Jerusalem pursues its offensive to destroy the terrorist organization that has ruled Gaza since 2007. Those who have fled or followed Israel’s instructions to leave the field of battle have found themselves in increasingly dire straits as they lack adequate food, medical care and shelter.

Thousands of civilians have died (we don’t know how many because the Hamas-run Health Ministry includes terrorists and those killed by errant terrorist rockets in the total). But no more have to die or suffer if the Biden administration would not insist on keeping the Palestinians confined to Gaza as part of its delusional notion that they will be citizens of a Palestinian state when the war ends.

The Biden administration has placed the responsibility on Israel to alleviate the crisis by allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza, some of which is stolen by Hamas. Instead of watching Palestinians forced into smaller and smaller areas of the Strip as the fighting expands, the displaced people could simply move a few miles to get outside Gaza into the Sinai Desert, where camps could be set up to provide all the humanitarian assistance they need without any interference from Israel.

The president insisted that Egypt allow Palestinian-Americans to leave. He placed the value of their lives over those of other Palestinians who he insists stay and suffer. By doing so, he also plays into Hamas’s hands by allowing Israel to be blamed for the humanitarian issues.

Why?

Is there anywhere else in the world where the United States has said that refugees must be forced to stay in a war zone rather than find safety? Did Biden or his predecessors say that Palestinians or Syrians should be forced to remain in Syria during the civil war to ensure they would not be prevented from returning or allow Jordan to turn refugees away? Was Bashar Assad pressured to create safe zones and corridors to provide them with humanitarian aid? Has Biden told Poland to keep Ukrainians out and insist they remain under Russian fire?

Palestinians are treated differently, as they always have been. They are the only people who have a U.N. refugee agency solely dedicated to their welfare—one that exacerbates the problem by creating more refugees each year and allowing its facilities to be used by the terrorists who have destroyed their lives. The Arab states that are feigning support for the Palestinians today are the same ones that have refused them citizenship (except Jordan) and kept them in refugee camps since they fled their homes from 1947 to 1949. Then, too, they were victimized by their fellow Arabs who, like Hamas, sought Israel’s destruction and invaded the nascent Jewish state.

Now, the Palestinians could go to Egypt, but the Egyptians are doing everything possible, including building a new wall, to prevent their entry. They don’t want responsibility for their welfare, fearing that they won’t want to return to Gaza and recognizing that many belong to Hamas or sympathize with the group that is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood that’s been trying to take over Egypt for decades. Nevertheless, Egypt is reportedly exploring the possibility that other countries will agree to host Gazans. The problem is no one wants them.

Egypt is far more dependent on U.S. aid than Israel and could be pressured to accept the Palestinians, but Biden won’t do it because he believes they need to stay in Gaza to be part of his two-state solution. The administration has deluded itself into thinking that Israel will allow the Palestinian Authority, which incites and incentivizes terror, to take over Gaza. Worse, Biden irrationally believes Israelis will be more inclined to accept a Palestinian state after the trauma of Oct. 7. Biden wants to distinguish between Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian people, but a recent Arab-sponsored poll shows that 75% of Palestinians, including 83% of West Bankers, supported the massacre of Israelis. Does he seriously think an Israeli leader, including any who might replace Benjamin Netanyahu, would agree to establish what would inevitably be another Hamastan on its borders?

Biden ignores that his conception of a two-state solution would require Israel to evacuate tens of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). After 200,000 were forced to leave their homes in the north and south because of the threats from Hamas and Hezbollah, what makes him think that Israel will agree to such an idea? If anything, Gaza proved the “land for peace” philosophy underpinning all U.S. peace initiatives is untenable. Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza in 2005 and, ever since, has been subjected to terror attacks and rocket bombardment. And the massacre of Oct. 7.

The president needs to stop holding Palestinians hostage to his peace fantasy. Let them leave and receive the humanitarian assistance they can only get outside Gaza.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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