Biden Aide Acknowledges Gaza Missteps, Expresses Regret Over Failure to Address Loss of Palestinian Lives

Credits: Reuters

A high-ranking aide in the Biden administration privately admitted communication failures and “missteps” regarding U.S. policy on the Israel-Gaza conflict during a closed-door meeting with Arab American and Muslim leaders in Michigan last week.

Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer expressed regret for inadequate public accounting, acknowledging the damaging impression it left on how the administration values Palestinian lives.

Finer also recognized the perception among many in the Arab American community that President Biden lacks empathy for Palestinians. This revelation was made in a recorded statement verified by a National Security Council official.

Joe Biden (Credits: Middle East Monitor)

Senator Chris Murphy, responding to Finer’s remarks, indicated the administration’s intention to make changes. He pointed to President Biden’s recent statement that Israel has “gone too far” in Gaza and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call for Israel to avoid dehumanizing others.

In the closed-door meeting, Finer expressed regret for specific instances, including a failure to condemn early remarks by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and a statement by the president on the 100th day of the conflict that overlooked Palestinian civilian casualties.

The meeting with community leaders in Michigan marked the first visit by Biden administration officials on this issue in the state since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war.

It was part of the administration’s broader efforts to engage with Arab and Muslim voters. Senior advisers, including Tom Perez, Samantha Power, and Mazen Basrawi, were dispatched to address concerns.

Michigan, a critical swing state with a significant Arab American population, became a focal point for the administration’s outreach. Despite challenges, including a canceled meeting with Palestinian Americans and criticism of messaging, the administration continues its efforts.

A call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was detailed in a White House statement, emphasizing American efforts to increase aid to Gaza, facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

The administration expressed concerns raised during the meeting about the impact of its messaging on communities.

The content of the White House’s messaging on the conflict, as described by a meeting participant in the recording, was criticized for putting communities at risk. The administration’s outreach also extends to dealing with incidents, such as the targeted killing of a 6-year-old boy in Chicago following the Oct. 7 attack.

During the Michigan meeting, Finer expressed skepticism about the current Israeli government’s ability to take meaningful steps for a two-state solution.

However, despite reservations, the Biden administration continues to support Israel, emphasizing the importance of providing hope for a Palestinian state.

The shift in the administration’s tone aligns with changing public opinion, with half of Americans polled expressing concerns about Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The administration faces challenges in managing regional tensions and domestic fallout, particularly regarding Netanyahu’s defiance of calls to scale down the military assault on Gaza.

President Biden and Netanyahu spoke, addressing plans for a Gaza invasion. The White House stressed the need for a credible plan to ensure the safety and support of Palestinians in Rafah. Urgent steps for consistent humanitarian assistance were also called for.

The crisis, initiated by a Hamas attack on October 7, has resulted in significant casualties, with concerns raised about civilian lives and humanitarian assistance.

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