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Famine looms in Gaza as Biden, Trump play politics

08 Mar 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

Palestinians running toward parachutes attached to food parcels, airdropped from US aircraft on a beach in the Gaza Strip. AFP



With a dangerous Donald Trump just one hurdle away from breasting the 2024 presidential tape after his sweeping victory at the Super Tuesday poll to pick the Republican Party candidate, the Palestinian people, if they are fortunate enough to survive Israel’s genocide, are likely to see a worse catastrophe than they are being inflicted now under his presidency.

Hours after his Super Tuesday feat, in an interview with Fox News, Trump voiced explicit backing for Israel’s war on Gaza until “total victory”. When asked whether he was on board with the way Israel was “taking the fight to Gaza”, Trump responded, “You’ve got to finish the problem”. He expressed no concern over the civilian deaths. “You had a horrible invasion that took place that would have never happened if I was president,” he boasted.

During his presidency from 2016 to 2020, Trump was outrageously pro-Israel, acting contrary to his campaign promise to follow an equidistant policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. In complete disregard for international law, he moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and acknowledged the city as the undivided capital of Israel, even though the international consensus is that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state. He turned a blind eye to the Israeli government’s illegal settlement-building activities in the West Bank. Making a mockery of the peace process, he entrusted the task of making peace between Israel and Palestine to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an avowed Zionist.

This week, Trump’s press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, said, “President Trump did more for Israel than any American president in history, and he took historic action in the Middle East that created unprecedented peace. When President Trump is back in the Oval Office, Israel will once again be protected, Iran will go back to being broke, terrorists will be hunted down, and the bloodshed will end.”

Many opinion polls indicate a tight Biden-Trump contest or a narrow victory for Trump. If Biden loses the November election, he alone is to be blamed. Biden mishandled Israel, giving it unlimited freedom to take on Hamas, regardless of the number of civilians killed. This has turned out to be a costly blunder and earned him the displeasure of the progressives, especially the social-media-savvy youth who know to discern the truth from the crap in the Zionist-controlled mainstream media. Biden’s campaign has also been hit by voter concerns over his age and declining memory.
His administration is sending weapons and money to Israel to kill more than 30,000 Palestinian civilians, almost half of them children, and inhumanely blocked UN Security Council efforts to bring about a ceasefire.

Although foreign policy is the last of the priorities on the wish list of US voters, it cannot be dismissed altogether. While the economy and immigration are the two main issues on which both candidates are trying to prove their competency, the Gaza war is also likely to pop up in presidential debates if the conflict festers without a ceasefire.
If his Democratic Party strategists are serious about defeating Trump at the polls, they should not have waited until the Super Tuesday wake-up call. Ahead of Super Tuesday, a tensed Biden team distanced itself from Israel’s hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and invited to Washington Israel’s war cabinet member and Netanyahu’s political nemesis Benny Grantz for meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris and other policymakers. An angry Netanyahu declared that the Grantz visit was not sanctioned by the government and that he would not accept its outcome.

Last week, Biden spoke of a weekend agreement for a ceasefire, and this week he said the Palestinian resistance group Hamas should agree to a ceasefire and the hostage deal. Hamas, however, is rejecting the ceasefire formula, saying it wants a permanent ceasefire, not a short-term one.
In Biden’s Super Tuesday victory, there is a message for him. In Minnesota and six other states, the sizeable protest vote was a signal that Biden’s rock-solid support for Israel may cost him reelection. In Minnesota, the protest vote was as high as 20 percent. A week ago, the Michigan primary also sent a similar warning that unless Biden changes his Gaza policy, he is unlikely to beat Trump. 

A section of the Biden campaign team believes, that despite the dissatisfaction with the president’s Israeli policy, the protest voters will choose Biden because they fear the bigger danger that will befall the country under the Trump presidency. Besides, Trump is a suspect in four criminal cases and his mental soundness has been questioned by well-known US psychologists. 
But the Biden camp is taking a big risk.
Angry youth disrupt Democratic Party’s town hall meetings, urging the politician to back the call for an immediate ceasefire and help facilitate food aid to the Gaza Strip, where people are more likely to die from starvation than from Israeli bombs.

With Israel using food as a weapon of war, scores of children have already died due to starvation. A BBC report quoted a senior UN aid official as warning that at least 576,000 people across the Gaza Strip—one-quarter of the population—faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity, and one in six children under the age of two in the north was suffering from acute malnutrition.
The warning indicates that if not enough food is sent to the besieged territory immediately, thousands of emaciated children will die. Wounded and severely malnourished children are brought to hospitals that have hardly any medicine, saline, morphine, or equipment. They are left on the hospital floor to join the chorus of whimpers, groans, and screams, until death silences them.

Biden is not acting decisively enough to prevent the 21st century’s worst humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before his own eyes. The Gaza humanitarian crisis is far worse than the two-year Ethiopian famine of 1983-1985. Up to 1.2 million people died, during the Ethiopian famine due to prolonged droughts amid a civil war in the northern parts, especially Tigray. The United Nations and the United States sent food aid but had to suspend the programme due to stealing by Ethiopian officials and the government policy of using food as a weapon of war. Yet, about 400,000 people could escape to neighbouring countries.

But for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, there is no escape. Israel is not only indiscriminately bombing civilian areas but also using food aid as a war weapon, just as the Ethiopian government did in the 1980s.  Even the United Nations food convoys are blocked by Israeli extremists with the connivance of Israeli Defence Forces personnel.
It is a huge embarrassment for the Biden administration when it is unable to get its staunchest ally, Israel, to permit US agencies to send food aid to Gaza through land routes. After all, it was for Israel’s sake that the US let its image be tarnished and be accused of being complicit in genocide. Instead, the US is airdropping packs of meals, which are hardly enough to feed the starving people caught up in a US-Israeli-made famine. 
There is more politics than humanitarianism in Biden’s crumbs from the sky, as he grapples with the delicate balance between the Zionist pressure and the pro-Palestinian progressive revolt in the Democratic Party.