Michael Oren: Is America Still Israel's Ally?
“By withholding arms, the Biden administration helped to relieve the pressure on Hamas,” writes Michael Oren. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Michael Oren: Is America Still Israel's Ally?

The White House apparently knows where Hamas leaders are hiding—but hasn't shared that intelligence.

Wading through the flood of information about the Biden administration’s opposition to a large-scale Israel incursion into Rafah, readers might have missed the tsunami. In a lengthy dispatch on the crisis, The Washington Post noted—almost in passing—that in return for not invading Rafah, the U.S. was offering Israel “sensitive intelligence to help. . . pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels.” 

In other words, the White House apparently knows where these leaders are hiding but hasn’t told its ally—and won’t—unless Israel forgoes a military operation viewed by many Israelis as the only means of defeating Hamas and securing the hostages’ release. And since Hamas leaders shield themselves with hostages, it’s logical to conclude that the U.S. is also keeping the captives’ location secret from Israel.

If the report is true, it signifies a violation of trust even more egregious than the administration’s curtailing of crucial munition supplies to Israel. By withholding arms, the Biden administration helped to relieve the pressure on Hamas to release at least some of the hostages. Instead, they rejected what Secretary of State Blinken called “Israel’s extraordinarily generous offer.” The policy of withholding lifesaving information from Israel, more treacherously, aids Hamas’s war effort and further dims the hope of freeing hostages. 

In light of this news, one could reasonably ask, “Is America still Israel’s ally?”

The day after October 7, Michael joined us on Honestly to explain how “evil” infiltrated Israel. You can listen to that episode here:

Michael Oren, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Knesset member, and deputy minister for diplomacy in the Israeli prime minister’s office, is the author of the Substack publication Clarity. You can read his other essays for The Free Press here.

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