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Biden has run out of patience with Netanyahu, and what could be a coordinated measure in Gaza could work | World News

American diplomats are furious that the Israeli administration has repeatedly ignored them, and the White House is seeking to regain some control. Alistair Bunkall explains that this probably involved talking to Netanyahu’s rivals and a coordinated surprise announcement.

By Alistair Bunkall, Middle East correspondent @AliBunkallSKY


Friday 31 May 2024 22:45, United Kingdom

If Joe Biden’s statement tonight was coordinated with the Israeli government, it is unclear with whom.

One source close to the Israeli prime minister told me that the American president had “practically sealed a deal,” while another said the two leaders had not spoken before the meeting. president’s announcement.

So what is going on?

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I think Washington has run out of patience with Benjamin Netanyahu.

While they have publicly supported recent Israeli maneuvers inside Rafah, or at least have not criticized them, Netanyahu’s decision to press ahead was a clear snub to the White House, which had repeatedly warned against such action.

Could it be a coincidence? Mr. Biden The statement came a day after Israel took control of the Philadelphia corridor between Loop and Egypt and the same day that Israeli troops officially entered the central city of Rafah?

We should also note the international outrage following the massacre of 45 people in Rafah last Sunday, the disintegration of the long-awaited US naval dock under rough seas after delivering little aid, and negotiations to reopen the Rafah crossing that made little progress.

American diplomats in Israel tell me they are furious that the Israeli administration has repeatedly ignored them and the White House has been looking for an opportunity to regain some control.

Senior Israeli military officials have said that Hamas It has degraded enough that if there was a ceasefire now they could achieve it, and many soldiers resent the lack of a political settlement in Gaza that has meant returning to fighting in areas they had already cleared.

Biden outlines peace plan between Israel and Gaza

Could Biden’s team be talking to a Netanyahu rival?

Behind the scenes, Biden’s team has been speaking regularly with Netanyahu’s political rival, Benny Gantz, considering him a no-nonsense boss and a possible future leader.

Gantz has threatened to leave the War Cabinet next Saturday, June 8, if Netanyahu does not meet six established demands, including progress on the release of hostages, so it is not unthinkable that there has been collaboration between Biden and the team. of Gantz in this one.

The reason would be to isolate Netanyahu: find an agreement acceptable to Hamas, Gantz, Washington, Cairo and Doha and present Bibi as the only objector.

David Cameron’s tweet in support of Biden’s statement, at 7:42 p.m. on a Friday night, did not strike me as a coincidence.

Support from former US President Barack Obama also continued.

Perhaps this is a coordinated measure.

Read more:
Rafah is ‘hell on earth’, says UN chief
Why the deadly Rafah attack could be a turning point

Privately, figures close to Netanyahu tell me they are angry and unsure why Biden has made this statement at this time.

But for me, Biden’s most telling quote was: “It’s time for this war to end.”

The American president seems to have had enough.

Will it bring about the end? He wouldn’t be so sure.

As one Bibi supporter told me: “He (Biden) has been wrong in all his predictions so far, and he’s wrong about this.”

This is a Hail Mary pass from Joe Biden, no doubt, but there are divisions in the Israeli cabinet, and it could simply land.

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