WASHINGTON (AP) — In the early days and hours after the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden spoke with stark declarations and unqualified support for the longtime U.S. ally.
Now, a month on, that unambiguous backing has given way to the complexities and haunting casualties of the war, and the Biden administration is imploring Israel to rein in some of its tactics to ease civilian suffering in Gaza.
As condemnation of the conflict has grown around the world, stoking anti-Israel sentiment, the Democratic president is also confronting the limits of the U.S. ability to direct the outcome — not only about the war, but what comes after it.
“There's no going back to the status quo as it stood on October the 6th,” Biden said three weeks after the attack. But even if Israel is successful in crippling or eradicating Hamas, there will also need to be a shift in Washington, where successive U.S. administrations have sought to manage the Middle East conflict and where the political will has been lacking to devise ways to end it.
And yet the path forward is uncertain, at best. “It's entirely unclear if there is a ‘morning after,'” said Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. He noted this could be “an extended period of violence at a different scale for many, many months or years to come.”
“But if there is…