One day after Israel massacred nearly 500 men, women and children taking refuge at a hospital in Gaza, US President Joe Biden traveled to Israel, embraced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and delivered a provocative, militaristic pro-Israel speech.
The aim of Biden’s trip was not only to make absolutely unequivocal his backing for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, but to signal a massive escalation of US military operations throughout the Middle East. Biden arrived as the US military was surging warships, aircraft and personnel to the region in an overt threat to Iran. There are growing indications that the United States is at a very advanced stage of its preparations for war against Iran, even as it continues to escalate NATO’s war against Russia.
The entire trip was a flagrant display of contempt for global public opinion. Amid mass protests throughout the region opposing Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, Biden chose to deliver the most provocative statement he possibly could, making graphic and inflammatory allegations against the Palestinians, comparing them to ISIS and calling their actions “evil.”
Biden spent the vast majority of his speech recounting alleged Palestinian atrocities, or praising the Israeli government, or describing how he would arm Israel. Just six lines mentioned the Palestinians, and those were focused on blaming them for being massacred by the Israelis.
He began his speech with the declaration: “I come to Israel with a single message: You are not alone. ... As long as the United States stands … we’re going to stand by your side.”
Over the past 11 days, Israel has killed 3,478 people in the Gaza Strip. In this period, there were over 136 attacks on healthcare workers and facilities throughout Palestine, the World Health Organization reported. Gaza’s public health system is on the brink of collapse, with food, fuel and water all running critically low.
Biden did not condemn any of the hundreds of targeted attacks on civilians, hospitals, medical workers and critical infrastructure by Israel. He did not condemn the displacement of the Palestinians from northern Gaza. He did not call for a ceasefire and he did not call for de-escalation.
His speech was a deliberate statement that Israel’s genocide is taking place with the support of, and at the behest of, the United States, making Biden fully culpable in the war crimes committed by the Netanyahu government.
Immediately after the trip, the Times of London reported that, in private, Biden gave Netanyahu a green light to invade Gaza.
Biden blamed the Palestinians for their own deaths, accusing Hamas of using women and children as “human shields” and absurdly claiming that the Palestinians blew up their own people at the Al-Ahli hospital. “Hamas uses innocents—innocent families in Gaza as human shields, putting their command centers, their weapons, their communications tunnels in residential areas,” he said.
Early on Wednesday, Biden publicly told Netanyahu that “the other team” carried out the massacre. In his main speech, he declared, “Based on the information we’ve seen to date, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.”
This absurd claim by the US and Israeli governments has been rejected with scorn throughout the world.
Early on Wednesday, the Israeli military released a video recording and audio recording which, it claimed, proved that the hospital was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinians. The audio, purportedly of two Hamas members discussing a failed rocket launch, stated that it was fired from the cemetery immediately behind the hospital. The video showed rockets fired from several miles away. No attempt was made to explain the gaping discrepancy in the official story.
The same day, more video was released from the scene showing the extent of the damage to the hospital courtyard, which was packed with 1,000 civilians who had fled nearby bombings. The video showed damage consistent with a wave of pressure radiating from the air, compressing car roofs and causing damage over hundreds of feet, with no impact crater.
The video showed that the blast was caused by an air-burst munition, such as that available on US-provided JDAM bombs. There is no conceivable way that a malfunctioning rocket could have produced damage in that pattern.
Rather, the video showed that Israel precisely targeted the section of the hospital compound where the most people were concentrated in an unprotected area, using the method—an air burst—calculated to inflict maximum damage on “soft” targets, such as the men, women and children seeking refuge in the courtyard of the hospital.
It was, in other words, a deliberate act of mass murder.
In the course of his speech, Biden made an extremely revealing statement. He declared, “The State of Israel was born to be a safe place for the Jewish people of the world. That’s why it was born. I have long said: If Israel didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.”
In 1986, Biden used the same words in a speech in the US Senate, except at that time he was less guarded. “It is the best $3 billion investment we make. Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.”
In other words, American imperialism does not care in the least about creating a “safe place for the Jewish people of the world.” Its aim has been “to protect [US] interests in the region” through the creation of a massively armed, militarized client state.
The United States is as indifferent to the fate of the Jewish people as it was in the 1930s and 1940s, when it refused visas to hundreds of thousands of Jewish families fleeing Nazi persecution. In reality, Biden’s identification of the Jewish people with the actions of the Netanyahu government, which is massively despised within Israel and by Jewish people worldwide, only serves to inflame antisemitic demagogy.
Among the most ominous elements of Biden’s speech is what it portends about the period to come. Biden called the October 7 incursion by Hamas into Israel as “Israel’s 9/11.” But he went further, declaring that, for a nation the size of Israel, it was like “15 9/11s.”
He noted that after 9/11, “we sought justice and got justice.” What does it mean to say that the October 7 attacks were “Israel’s 9/11”? The United States used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to carry out the long-planned invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), which were followed by the war against Libya and the CIA-backed regime change operation in Syria. These wars combined have led to the deaths of more than one million people.
This, Biden said, was getting “justice.” What will it mean for Israel to get “justice”? The clear implication is that Israel will use the October 7 border incursion as a pretext to massively expand a war in the Middle East.
Biden then proceeded to threaten Iran: “We have moved US military assets to the region, including positioning the USS Ford carrier strike group in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the USS Eisenhower on the way, to deter—to defer further aggression against Israel and to prevent this conflict from spreading.
“The world will know that Israel is—Israel is stronger than ever. And my message to any state or any other hostile actor thinking about attacking Israel remains the same as it was a week ago: Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.”
Immediately after Biden left the country, Israel launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syria and Lebanon, both allies of Iran. Israel, which is intent on expanding the war, is doing everything possible to provoke a military response from Tehran. Any such response would be used by the United States to put into practice long-held plans for war with Iran.
As Biden was in the air, the US media reported that he was planning to use the October 7 attack on Israel as the occasion to push through a massive $100 billion spending bill that would fund the US war in the Middle East, as well as the war in Ukraine and the military buildup in the Pacific.
The green light given by Biden for a genocide against the Palestinians by Israel must be seen in the context of the US conflict with Russia, Iran and China. The United States increasingly sees itself as engaged in a globe-spanning war for world hegemony.
The massive global outpouring of opposition to Israel’s massacre of the Palestinians shows the way to stop the global war plans of American imperialism. On every continent, thousands of people have demonstrated in opposition to Israel’s war crimes.
The international working class must take the lead in the struggle against the imperialist-backed Israeli onslaught against Gaza. The WSWS calls on workers throughout the world to take strike action to deprive Israel of all resources that can be utilized in its war. Dockworkers, airport and transport workers all over the world should refuse to handle any weapons directed toward Israel.
Workers must demand an immediate halt to the Israeli bombing of Gaza and the demobilization of all Israeli troops and their withdrawal from the border with Gaza. The siege on Gaza must be ended, and food, water, electricity, medical care and all other necessities must be made available immediately.
The International Criminal Court must initiate proceedings against Netanyahu, Scholz, Biden and all the leading figures in the US-NATO axis who are supporting the Israeli genocide against Gaza.
It is only through the intervention of masses of workers and youth throughout the world that this unfolding genocide can be stopped and those responsible be held to account.