Israel-Gaza War, United States

Amit Segal: America is giving Hamas hope

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Israeli commentator Amit Segal writes that the United States betrayed its promise to back Israel against threats from places it evacuates when it imposed a partial arms embargo.

Amit Segal. (Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Channel 12's political reporter and commentator Amit Segal published a column in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, explaining the great harm President Joe Biden has caused in trying to deny Israel offensive weapons during its war with Hamas.

Among other things, Segal mentioned the promise given by Bush to Ariel Sharon during the Disengagement:

"In the spring of 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon encountered obstacles trying to advance his plan for a total withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. At the time, Gaza was home to thousands of settlers and several divisions of the Israel Defense Forces.

"The concerns were twofold: first, that the precedent of a withdrawal to the 1967 borders in Gaza might eventually be applied to Judea and Samaria, creating indefensible borders for Israel, and second, that the move would be interpreted as a retreat under fire, strengthening terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip."

Segal then explains the importance of the letter Bush sent to Israel, committing to preserving the remaining settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria. There was also another commitment, which was ultimately forgotten over the years:

"Israel will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations. The United States will lead efforts, working together with Jordan, Egypt, and others in the international community, to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism, dismantle terrorist organizations, and prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat that would have to be addressed by any other means."

Looking at this second commitment, Segal wrote: "Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has failed in the efforts it pledged to uphold: to fight terrorism and prevent Gaza from becoming a threat to Israel. When Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the U.S. did nothing. In the summer of 2014, President Obama withheld Hellfire missiles from Israel during its military operation against Hamas. In May 2021 President Biden pressured Israel to discontinue another military operation in Gaza.

"Now, with his announcement to halt the delivery of weapons, Mr. Biden has shredded Mr. Bush’s letter to Sharon. The consequences will be catastrophic even if Israel prevails in Gaza. The entire region and the world are closely watching leaders renege on commitments and strategic partnerships."

Segal ended with a warning: "Now, instead of delivering promised support to an ally, the U.S. is hindering efforts. By halting the shipment of weapons to Israel, it is effectively sending Hamas the most potent weapon of all: hope."

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