In the United States, a new front was opened ahead of the 2024 presidential elections: the Hamas offensive revived criticism from Republican candidates against President Joe Biden, accused of being too weak in his defense of Israel and in his policy towards Iran. .
"This is a great opportunity for our candidates to draw a contrast between Republicans, who have always supported Israel, and the weakness of Joe Biden," Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee, said on Fox News on Saturday.
In just over a year, Americans will elect a president and decide control of Congress.
Biden, 80, who is running for a second term, could well face his great rival Donald Trump, currently the favorite in the Republican primaries.
The former president stated on Saturday that the attack on Israel occurred because the United States is seen "as weak and ineffective and with a really weak leader."
Other candidates for the Republican nomination, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, have made similar criticisms of the Democrat's supposed "weakness."
– “Engraved in stone” –
On Saturday, Biden gave a brief, serious speech from the White House to emphasize that American support for the Jewish state is "set in stone" and "unwavering."
«Today, the people of Israel are under attack by a terrorist organization, Hamas. In this tragic moment, I want to say to them, to the world, and to terrorists around the world: America stands with Israel. “We will never stop supporting him,” added the American president.
The Republican accusations are fueled in particular by a recent decision by Biden: authorizing the unfreezing of Iranian funds, in the amount of $6 billion, to allow a prisoner exchange with the Tehran regime.
Senator Rick Scott, among others, estimated that by authorizing the transfer to Doha of these funds frozen in South Korea, the White House had "financed" the spectacular Hamas offensive.
A long-time supporter of the Palestinian Islamist group, Tehran gave its public support to the attacks.
The accusation hurt the US Executive. A White House spokesperson denounced a “blatant lie,” stating that “not a cent” of this $6 billion of that money has been spent on matters unrelated to humanitarian issues.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, a senior government official accused Republicans of "disinformation."
– Congress –
"It is too early to say" whether Iran is "directly involved" in the offensive launched by Hamas against Israel, and the United States "has no indication" in this direction at the moment, he said. There is also "no doubt" that Hamas has been "financed, equipped and armed," among others, by the Islamic Republic, she added.
Beyond the 2024 elections, this Republican offensive poses immediate political problems for Joe Biden.
In fact, the American president will need Congress if he wants to provide significant additional aid to Israel. Republicans control one of the two chambers, the House of Representatives, and are currently blocking the adoption of the national budget.
To complicate matters, the House of Representatives no longer really functions since the recent dismissal of its leader, Kevin McCarthy, a victim of internal disputes in the Republicans.
The White House also hopes that the Senate will quickly approve the appointment of Jack Lew as the new ambassador to Israel, announced more than a month ago, but this will require a certain goodwill on the part of the Republican minority in that chamber.