REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

Sign up for the AllSides Story of the Week Newsletter to receive this blog in your inbox every Thursday.

A few weeks ago, President Joe Biden issued an ultimatum to Israel: move forward with a wide-scale invasion of Rafah, and the United States would cease to provide offensive weapons.

On Sunday, an Israeli airstrike and a subsequent fire killed at least 45 people in a Palestinian tent city in Rafah. Soon after, Israeli tanks reached central Rafah.

Reports estimate that over one million Palestinians are currently sheltering in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman John F. Kirby called the deaths in the airstrike "devastating," but not enough to cross Biden's "red line" and prompt a change to U.S. policy.

So Israel's incursion into Rafah continues, and the (disputed) civilian death toll continues to rise.

A writer in MSNBC (Left bias) asked if the airstrike on civilians didn't cross Biden's "red line," then "what could possibly qualify?" The attack and expected invasion of Rafah indicate that "the U.S. has lost control over its vassal state in the region" and "could be the beginning of still more violence to come." The writer concluded that the "mixed messaging and action by the administration yet again show the disarray of the Biden administration’s policy on Gaza. And it continues to prolong the war."

A writer in the New York Post Opinion (Right bias) argued Hamas is "getting just what it wanted" from the civilian deaths in an effort to turn Gaza "into a land of futile martyrdom in their jihad to destroy Israel." The writer stated Hamas’ strategy is to "Terrorize, kidnap and kill Israeli civilians — and then flee back to Gaza and hide behind Palestinian men, women and children to ensure mass casualties and garner international condemnation of Israel." The writer determined Biden is "cutting the legs off a US ally" by dissuading Israel from continuing its offensive in Gaza.

This recent attack comes shortly after an announcement that the International Criminal Court's prosecutor is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's leader in Gaza, for potential war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This announcement was rebuked by many Western leaders, furious that Israel would face such accusations.

A writer in the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) argued that for ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, "the target is not simply Israel, but also the United States." Determining that the organization is susceptible to political influence and corruption, the writer concluded, "By creating a standard in which almost any casualties lead to the indictment of elected leaders and their armies, Khan is setting the stage to tie the hands of all American leaders at a time when the liberal order is under unprecedented threat. Spluttering about 'outrage' is not enough."

A writer in Al Jazeera (Lean Left bias) outlined the "significant difference" in past ICC actions and this one, stating, "In the past, crimes against humanity charges were only ever levelled against non-Western nations... Historically too, the US and its allies have considered themselves as above the reach of international law. In the war crimes tribunals that followed the end of World War II, only the crimes of the Axis Powers (Italy, Germany and Japan) were tried. It was also held that it would not constitute a defence to argue that the Allies had done many of the same things the Axis Powers were being accused of."

Graph reading "65% of U.S. adults 'think the U.S. should play a leading or major role in trying to solve international problems.'"

More from AllSides

  • Common Ground: Join the Clinton Presidential Center Monday, June 3 at 6 p.m. CT for the next Civil Dialogues town hall as they explore why partnerships matter, and how to have difficult conversations with those who hold different opinions.
  • From the Center: "There was a day last week in which the two most prominent stories about the 2024 presidential election were about one candidate accusing his opponent of wanting him assassinated and the other candidate suggesting that his rival was a Nazi. And we wonder why expected voter turnout this fall is predicted to be so low."
  • 2024 Voter Guides: Here's where the presidential candidates stand on immigration, abortion, healthcare, gun control, education, foreign policy, infrastructure, and economic issues.

More from the Center

Which leaders are on the ICC's most wanted list?

"The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes. If those requests are granted the Israeli and Hamas leaders would join a list of war crime suspects who remain at large from the court in The Hague. Here is an overview of the most high-profile names among them."

More from the Left

The International Criminal Court’s threat to Netanyahu
CNN (opinion)

"The ICC’s move to seek an arrest warrant for Netanyahu may only harden his resolve to continue the war in Gaza seemingly indefinitely. In an address to his nation on Monday, Netanyahu said the ICC would not prevent Israel from attaining 'total victory' against Hamas in a translation of his remarks by The Times of Israel."

More from the Right

Biden Made Israel’s War on Hamas into a Political Liability
Noah Rothman (opinion)

"Just four in ten Americans say the United States is doing “too much” to support Israel’s cause. If placing himself on the side of the majority of Americans — who either support this administration’s material assistance to Israel or believe it hasn’t gone far enough — is a liability for this president, it’s because Biden labored diligently to make it into one."

See more big stories from the past week.