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Updated Dec 18, 2023, 12:00pm EST
securitypoliticsMiddle East
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US faces growing risks and isolation over Israel support

Insights from The Washington Post, Nikkei Asia, and the FT

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A person holds a placard with a crossed out picture of U.S. President Joe Biden and shoes attached to it, during a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza, in Amman, Jordan December 8, 2023.
REUTERS/Alaa Al Sukhni
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The News

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote Monday on a fresh resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, less than two weeks after the U.S. vetoed a similar measure.

The U.S. was also in the minority in opposing a U.N. General Assembly resolution demanding a ceasefire last week.

Some analysts and world leaders have questioned whether Washington will face political and diplomatic repercussions for its continued support of Israel as the death toll rises in Gaza — even as President Joe Biden has acknowledged that Israel is losing international support.

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SIGNALS

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Increasing concerns about an isolated Washington

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Source:  
The Washington Post

Biden administration officials have privately worried that unwavering support of Israel could come at a cost, The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung reported. “When public opinion in so many countries is hostile, it makes it harder to win support on issues we care about,” one anonymous official said. Some close U.S. partners in the Middle East have been the most outspoken — even as the White House has become slightly more critical of Israel in recent weeks — leading to questions about what role an isolated U.S. could play in the region in the long term.

But will those concerns manifest to hurt the US?

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Sources:  
NPR, The Washington Post

Washington’s actions have been insulting and humiliating to its Arab allies, a London School of Economics and Political Science professor told NPR. But those nations are dependent on the “American security umbrella,” he said, and they don’t have the guts to “really challenge American foreign policy.” A European diplomat didn’t think the Biden administration had lost credibility, while U.S. officials believe the support could even have a positive effect, as “America is showing its resolve to stand by friends, even when it is unpopular,” the Post reported.

Criticism over ‘hypocrisy’ amid Ukraine war

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Sources:  
Nikkei Asia, FT

A common gripe against the U.S.’s position: It’s hypocritical for officials to back Israel’s operation in Gaza while staunchly criticizing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. “I’m sick of this hypocrisy. It’s not politics,” Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Sunday, without singling out any country. “I would say such hypocrisy is [happening in] many of the so-called countries that promote democracy and human rights.” But even Washington’s support of Ukraine is wavering, as an aid bill languishes in Congress and Western governments suffer from a broader case of ”Ukraine fatigue,” the FT’s Martin Sandbu argued.

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