According to NBC News, President Joe Biden has sent two distinct letters regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict to different American audiences. The White House correspondence, obtained by NBC, reveals that one letter expresses Biden’s support for Israel against Hamas’s “terrorism,” while the other focuses on the US administration’s commitment to protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip.
The letter addressed to pro-Israel Americans references the Holocaust in relation to the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel. It also assures continuous support for Israel and efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. The letter states, “The people of Israel lived through a moment of pure evil” that evoked “horrible memories,” making it the “deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”
It emphasizes that the United States stands with Israel and will provide the necessary resources for self-defense within the bounds of international humanitarian law.
Conversely, the letter intended for pro-Palestinian individuals concentrates on providing aid to Palestine without mentioning the Holocaust or US support for Israel. It acknowledges the loss of innocent Palestinian lives and highlights the administration’s collaboration with partners to urgently deliver life-saving assistance, such as food, water, and medicine, to Gaza. It further asserts that the United States unwaveringly advocates for the protection of civilians during conflicts.
While these letters do not contradict Biden’s policies or each other, NBC News reports that it is uncommon for the White House to draft such varying versions with contrasting emphases on the same topic. The incident reflects the political challenge Biden faces in navigating the diverging views of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian factions within his coalition, particularly with elections looming less than a year away.
In a recent opinion piece for the Washington Post, Biden expressed his belief that Gaza and the occupied West Bank should be reunited under a unified Palestinian Authority. He emphasized that Gaza must never again serve as a platform for terrorism and rejected measures like forced displacement, reoccupation, sieges, blockades, and territorial reductions. He emphasized the need for the voices and aspirations of the Palestinian people to be central in post-crisis governance in Gaza.
This week, President Biden and two members of his cabinet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, were sued for alleged failure to prevent and complicity in the “genocide” occurring in Gaza. The complaint argues that the US, as Israel’s closest ally and primary source of military assistance, has the potential to deter genocidal acts against the Palestinian population.
In Washington, DC, protesters demonstrating for a ceasefire clashed with police in riot gear outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters. This demonstration followed a large gathering of pro-Israeli protesters at the National Mall, with signs expressing slogans like “Let Israel finish the job” and “From the river to the sea, Israel is all you’ll see.”
According to Palestinian officials, Israeli attacks have resulted in the deaths of at least 12,000 people, including 5,000 children, in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas’s attacks stands at around 1,200.