The Biden administration has sparked backlash for posting and then deleting tweets that called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.
Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise airstrike attack on Israel, killing about 900 people. Israel has since responded in kind, imposing a total siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off food, water, and electricity. More than 680 Palestinians have been killed in the counteroffensive—and the death toll on both sides is expected to quickly rise.
On Saturday, before the conflict really escalated, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to discuss a solution. Blinken then shared a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying he “encouraged Turkey’s advocacy for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages by Hamas immediately.”
He quickly deleted the post and replaced it with a statement that said only, “Israel has the right to defend itself, rescue any hostages, and protect its citizens.”
Blinken’s fast 180 was the second time the State Department backtracked on a statement calling for Israeli restraint.
Hours after the initial attack, the State Department’s Office of Palestinian Affairs said on X that it “unequivocally condemned the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”
The office soon deleted the post and shared a statement saying only that it “unequivocally” condemned the attack.
Hamas said Monday that it would be open to discussing a truce or “something of that sort” with Israeli officials. The group said it had “achieved its targets.”
The State Department flip-flopping on a ceasefire is confusing at best. The agency’s entire job is to promote diplomacy, so surely its ultimate goal should be an end to all fighting. Instead, it is letting right-wing backlash determine its next moves.