CNN reports that American diplomats in the Middle East sent a diplomatic cable to the White House raising the alarm that the Israeli military operations in Gaza are causing severe damage to the US reputation in the region. Washington is Tel Aviv’s most dedicated backer, sending billions of dollars in weapons to Israel every year.
CNN says it obtained the cable authored by a diplomat stationed in Oman. Israel’s destructive and deadly military campaign in Gaza “is losing us Arab publics for a generation,” the outlet reports the diplomat as saying. Robust US support for Israel’s actions is being seen “as material and moral culpability in what they consider to be possible war crimes,” the cable reads.
It continues, “We are losing badly on the messaging battlespace.”
After a Hamas attack on October 7, Israel launched a massive military operation in Gaza. In just over a month of bombings, more than 11,000 civilians have been killed. The death toll includes over 4,000 children. Tel Aviv’s operations have been widely condemned by governments and organizations around the globe.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said this week the high rate of civilian casualties shows something wrong is happening in Israel. “When one looks at the number of civilians that were killed with the military operations, there is something that is clearly wrong,” he said. On Wednesday, Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told Congress the death toll in Gaza is potentially higher than reported.
The diplomatic cable said the damage done to the US image by supporting the Israeli bombing in Gaza will not be quickly repaired. Washington is Tel Aviv’s indispensable backer. The US provides Israel with nearly $4 billion in military assistance annually. The White House is asking Congress to approve $14 billion in additional security aid for Tel Aviv to support its operations in Gaza. On top of providing Israel with military aid, the Biden administration has blocked efforts at the UN Security Council to call for a ceasefire.
The author of the cable highlighted a recent commentary in a state-run Egyptian newspaper that said President Joe Biden has been the cruelest American leader. “President Biden’s cruelty and disregard for Palestinians exceeded all previous US presidents,” it says.