Netanyahu Not Budging On Biden's Gaza War Plea

(MENAFN- Asia Times) US President Joe Biden has mobilized his three top national security officials to pressure Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept US plans for ending the Gaza war and future Middle East peace.

Biden wants Netanyahu to change battlefield tactics and prepare for negotiations leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu is resisting both proposals, setting off a diplomatic crisis not between the US and a traditional adversary but between Washington and a close ally.

A key policy concern for Biden has been to keep the war from spreading elsewhere in the Middle East and cement alliances with key Arab countries. For Netanyahu, the goals are both to end forever the Palestinian quest for statehood and cement control over territory beyond Israel between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.

This is but the latest in a long line of policy disputes between the US, which has long been Israel's primary military and diplomatic supporter, and the Jewish state, the major economic and military power in the Middle East.

Back in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower pressured an expansionist Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, which it briefly occupied during the Suez Crisis. At the beginning of the 21st century, President Barack Obama clashed with Netanyahu over US plans to cement a nuclear proliferation deal with Iran.

Obama signed an accord but his successor, Donald Trump, scotched the agreement, to Netanyahu's delight.

Now, the Palestinian issue has taken center stage in US-Israeli relations. The tug of war centers on wildly different views about how to end the Gaza War, and how to forge a lasting peace after it's over.

Beyond the purely geopolitical concerns, current US-Israeli disagreements are colored by the different political needs of each leader: Biden is up for reelection this November and wants to show foreign policy strength.

He also needs to placate voting blocs that either support Israel or the Palestinians and want Biden to more clearly take their side.

Netanyahu Not Budging On Biden

Biden and Netanyahu were closer earlier in the war. Image: Handout / GPO

Netanyahu, already under fire at home for failing to deter Hamas' October 7, 2023, invasion of southern Israel, might fall from power if he fails to destroy Hamas, as he has promised.

To that end, Netanyahu has repeatedly rebuffed advice from Biden to alter battlefield tactics that cost the lives of thousands of Palestinian lives.

Biden has asked Netanyahu not to overrun the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, reputedly the last Hamas stronghold in the enclave.

In addition, he has requested Netanyahu to accept post-war negotiations over the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza as well as the West Bank.


Asia Times

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