In what US officials say is an attempt to avoid an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, President Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, offering to broker a ceasefire with Hamas.
Officials concede the idea is still in its “infancy,” but say that the US has no specific plans for how it might conceivably stop the invasion. Indications are that the phone call centered mostly on Obama assuring Netanyahu of his support for the ongoing attacks against the strip.
Obama’s half-hearted effort is materially the only effort to broker a ceasefire, with Egypt ruling out any direct mediation, and Hamas having no real remaining allies to push for a peace deal.
It also underscores how much more difficult a truce will be to come by this time around, as the US role in Israel’s assorted Gaza wars is to usually block the UN until Israel gets sick of bombing Gaza and agrees to let Egypt handle it.
The go-to US response is just to back Israel unconditionally, and Israel’s go-to response is to say they don’t want a ceasefire, which is a recipe for continued escalation with no end in sight.