The Wall Street Journal carries a story today about how President Biden’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war increasingly alienates the supporters of each side. What it doesn’t say is that a president consumed with “both sides” of a war between our ally and a terrorist regime holding American hostages is the underlying problem.

The president wants the votes of a segment of his base who want him to intervene to save from extinction the barbaric terrorist organization that murdered Americans in cold blood and took other Americans hostage, using them as slaves, starving them, and sexually assaulting many of the women. But Hamas’s extinction is the only possible way to end the ongoing conflict, since the group exists to murder, kidnap, and rape—and says so daily.

Thus, Biden wants these voters to know that he’s sorry and he still loves them. But in order to please them, he would have to consign the Jewish state to the fate Hamas wants for it. Since the president is not a monster, he has thus far refused to do so.

At the same time, his sympathy for those with family in Gaza is appropriate. There are many innocents in the Strip facing hardship. The step he won’t take is to force Israel to lay down its arms before an enemy sworn to destroy it. That, too, is appropriate. Trying to reconcile the two is a fool’s errand.

On that note, Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the progressive political lobby outfit J Street, has—stunningly, perhaps unintentionally—made a decent point. “Polarization on these issues between these communities is getting deeper,” Ben-Ami told the Journal. “Both sides deserve to have their rights and security and ultimately their freedom—that’s what the administration is trying to do—build a path towards that, and that’s not easy.”

When he says “both sides,” Ben-Ami is referring to Israelis and Palestinians. The problem for Biden is that Palestinian rights and security and freedom require the defeat of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, will at the very least sit with negotiators in a process designed to create a second state without eliminating an existing state, Israel. That is not something Hamas is willing even to consider, which is why at every stage of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts, Hamas acts as the intentional saboteur. When the sides are even willing to envision a coexisting future, Hamas begins shedding the blood of both Jews and Palestinians. It is not acting in Palestinian interests but rather the interests of its Iranian masters in Tehran.

When food is delivered to Gaza, Hamas or its hired guns attempt to take it, often successfully, and often at the cost of the lives of hungry Gazans. When Gazans try to access the food and other provisions directly, Hamas executes them on the spot. Just today, Haaretz reveals that the IDF has found extensive documentation of the torture and execution of Mahmoud Ishtiwi, a Hamas commander killed by his own organization on suspicion of being gay. There is no freedom for Palestinians under Hamas, no matter what a bunch of American college kids say.

Yet Biden has increasingly been adopting the language of his progressive dissenters about Israel. In his attempt to find balance, he has lent credence to the idea that Israel is to blame for all the death and destruction in Gaza and principally responsible for the humanitarian conditions there. This has done nothing to placate his critics on the left; if he really believed what he says about Israel, they argue, he wouldn’t still support the mission in Gaza.

Which brings us, again, back to the central point: The president’s rhetoric about Israel is unreconcilable with his policy of backing the defeat of Hamas and the release of the hostages. He’s not going to be able to make “both sides” happy because the freedom and security of both sides in this conflict requires the president to support Israel’s operation in Gaza until it is complete.

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