Biden national security aide tells Dearborn Muslims ‘I do not have any confidence in current government of Israel’
“In Private Remarks to Arab Americans, Biden Aide Expresses Regrets on Gaza,” by Reid J. Epstein and Erica L. Green, New York Times, February 9, 2024:
In a closed-door meeting with Arab American leaders in Michigan this week, one of President Biden’s top foreign policy aides acknowledged mistakes in the administration’s response to the war in Gaza, saying he did not have “any confidence” that Israel’s government was willing to take “meaningful steps” toward Palestinian statehood….
The Biden aide, Jon Finer, a deputy national security adviser, offered some of the administration’s clearest expressions of regret for what he called “missteps” it had made since the beginning of the violence, and he pledged that it would do better.
During a meeting on Thursday with Arab American political leaders in Dearborn, Mich., Mr. Finer said, “We are very well aware that we have missteps in the course of responding to this crisis since Oct. 7,” according to a recording of the gathering obtained by The New York Times. A National Security Council official confirmed the recording was authentic.
Mr. Finer added: “We have left a very damaging impression based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the president, the administration and the country values the lives of Palestinians. And that began pretty early in the conflict.”…
Mr. Finer and several other senior Biden administration officials, including Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, traveled to Dearborn on Thursday for a series of meetings, including one in which Mr. Finer’s comments were recorded.
Those sessions came a week after Biden's campaign aides, including Julie Chávez Rodríguez, the manager of his 2024 bid, quietly traveled to the city and met with a few officials, including Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American progressive who is at the forefront of Democratic calls for a cease-fire.
However, Mayor Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn and several other local officials declined to meet with Ms. Chávez Rodríguez. Mr. Hammoud later issued a statement saying he wished to speak with policymakers instead of campaign officials. White House officials then scrambled to arrange a visit.
During Thursday's meetings, Mr. Finer articulated the American government’s efforts to bring a halt to the war in Gaza. Building a formal diplomatic relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he said, is a critical step toward creating a Palestinian state. Doing so, he added, requires politically difficult sacrifices from both countries and the United States.
“We will have to do things for Saudi Arabia that will be very unpopular in this country and in our Congress,” Mr. Finer said. “Will Israel be willing to do the hard thing that’s going to be required of them, which is meaningful steps for the Palestinians on the question of two states?" I don’t know if the answer to that is yes. I do not have any confidence in this current government of Israel.”…
Biden regime gives Israel 45 days to submit report on alleged international law violations or lose military aid
“Biden gives Israel 45 days to submit a report on international law violations or lose military aid,” by Hannah Sarisohn, Jerusalem Post, February 9, 2024:
President Joe Biden issued a memorandum Thursday night asking countries receiving U.S. military funding to prove they’re following international humanitarian and human rights laws.
The timing of the memorandum coincides with President Biden’s unscheduled press conference where he took reporters’ questions on the Israel-Hamas war, saying Israel’s response is “over the top.”
For weeks now, reporters have pressed both the White House and State Department on their ability to assess if Israel is following international law as there have been no formal assessment procedures in place.
Administration officials have repeated that one innocent life killed is too many, but have stopped short of implying that Israel is in violation of international law.
Members of Congress raised concern over Israel’s human rights violations, The Post previously reported.
Led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), several progressive Democratic members issued a letter to Biden and the Government Accountability Office requesting an assessment of the State Department’s compliance with Leahy Laws and Conventional Arms Transfer policies regarding security assistance to the Israeli government.
“We write today regarding your administration’s ongoing weapons transfers to the Israeli government despite considerable evidence that these transfers are flagrantly violating American and international law and are being used in the commission of war crimes,” the letter to Biden said.
The letter cites a January 5 comment from White House national security spokesman John Kirby in which he said he wasn’t aware of any assessments being made by the US government to analyze Israel’s compliance with international law.
Biden’s memorandum requires states receiving military aid to provide the State Department and Congress with thorough reports every fiscal year with details of any alleged legal violations, explanations for military actions in question, and the process taken to assess legality in making those decisions….
Biden’s Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on NSC was UNRWA official while it was aiding Hamas
Biden’s Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on the White House National Security Council staff, Maher Bitar, was an official of @UNRWA while the group was providing material support to terrorism.https://t.co/6dOH9RZrK6 pic.twitter.com/EnvKqmPTQU
— J Michael Waller (@JMichaelWaller) January 27, 2024
“Biden Appoints Former Palestinian UNRWA Official as Director of NSC Intelligence,” Saudi Press, n.d. (thanks to J. Michael Waller):
Real diversity without exemption: President Joe Biden on Friday appointed Palestinian-American attorney Maher al-Bitar, who served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council as Director of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs and as deputy to Samantha Power, to be the new director of the NSC intelligence service.
Al-Bitar’s new job is an important day-to-day connective tissue between the intelligence community and the White House.
A graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, al-Bitar received a Master of Science in Forced Migration from Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center on a Marshall scholarship and has worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem.
Maher al-Bitar has served as Foreign Affairs Officer in the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown Law, and is a member of the Maryland Bar. He was Rep. Adam Schiff’s top legal adviser and played a key role in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, alongside Dan Goldman, who worked as the impeachment manager’s top lawyer. Goldman called al-Bitar “a brilliant lawyer.”…
Biden regime spokesman defends UNRWA despite mounting evidence of its aid to Hamas’ jihad against Israel
“John Kirby: UNRWA does important work,” by Elad Benari, Israel National News, January 5, 2024:
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Thursday defended the work of UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” after a reporter suggested the US should rethink its support for the UN agency in the wake of reports that its facilities are being used by Hamas terrorists.
“UNRWA does important work. In fact, they’re doing a lot of heavy lifting right now in terms of trying to get food, water, medicine to the people of Gaza, all up and down the Strip. They’re doing a lot of work, and they’re doing it in harm’s way — very much so in harm’s way,” said Kirby.
“You can’t hold them accountable for the depredations of Hamas and the way Hamas uses civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, for command and control, for storage of weapons, for the holding of hostages,” he added.
When the reporter noted that the US gave UNRWA a billion dollars, Kirby replied, “They do good work in Gaza, and they are important to helping get the humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. And we’re grateful for that work that they’re doing, very much in harm’s way.”
He added, “I will let them speak to whatever concerns they have over Hamas’s activities and the degree to which that they feel obligated to speak out or not.”…
However, it is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.
Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.
More recently, it was discovered that a hostage kidnapped by Hamas to Gaza was held for 50 days in the attic of an UNRWA teacher.
Last year, the US increased its financial support for UNRWA, reaching a record $223 million, an increase of $16 million on the previous year….