On Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan phoned his Israeli counterpart and turned back the hands of time. According to the American readout of the conversation, Sullivan called “to express the United States’ serious concerns” about two things: the pending eviction, by court order, of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the weekend’s violent clashes on the Temple Mount between Israeli police and Palestinian rioters. The Biden administration, in other words, publicly asserted an American national interest in preventing the Sheikh Jarrah evictions, regardless of the dictates of Israeli law—just as Hamas was sending rockets and incendiary devices into Israel with the same message. This conscious effort to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel marked a clear return to the approach of President Barack Obama.
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