The “deeply distressing and unrelenting human suffering” in Gaza caused by Israel’s response to Hamas’s 7 October atrocities will leave a “permanent mark on all who witness it”, says Simon Tisdall in The Observer. The resulting “worldwide revulsion” is inflicting serious political damage on Israel’s main ally Joe Biden, and on the western-led international order, which may prove “irreparable”. Biden continues to offer his staunch support to Benjamin Netanyahu, telling reporters last week he did not know when the assault on Gaza would end and that a ceasefire is not “realistic”. But he’s increasingly out of step with Americans. Polls show that 68% of the country want a ceasefire, and 56% of Democrats say Israel’s military response has “gone too far”.
Public outrage over Gaza is also “roiling the domestic politics of America’s close allies”. In the UK, the ceasefire issue has sharply divided Keir Starmer’s “government-in-waiting”. France and Germany are internally “at odds” too. Elsewhere, in Arab countries and beyond, fury at the intolerable human toll is “visceral”, and may have profound, long-term consequences. Biden was always bound to back Israel, but his mistake has been failing to rein in Netanyahu. The “unscrupulous hard-right nationalist” talks frequently about a “long war”, which happens to be his “best hope of staying in office and out of jail”. Fewer than 4% of Jewish Israelis trust him to tell the truth about the war. As long as he remains in power, Biden and other Western leaders will face a “wall of defiance” in Jerusalem that prolongs the suffering in Gaza, disrupts their politics at home and harms their interests abroad.