Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is losing the confidence of both his country and Israel’s Western allies as fighting with Hamas escalates and civilian casualties mount.
In Israel, Netanyahu is being held responsible for the security and intelligence failures leading up to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and creating, what officials have described as, a “traumatic” atmosphere in meetings with his war cabinet, the Economist reports. These divisions among Israel’s most senior officials, which include defense minister Yoav Gallant, have affected military decision-making and are hampering relief efforts for Israeli citizens who have been uprooted from communities neighboring Gaza and Israel’s border with Lebanon. “He’s totally dedicated — not just now, but for a while now — to his own political and personal survival,” Ehud Yaari, an Israeli political commentator told the Wall Street Journal, adding that Netanyahu will never take responsibility for Israel’s intelligence lapses prior to Oct. 7. “It’s going to get ugly,” Yaari said.
The Biden administration believes that the prime minister’s days are numbered and it has been discussing possible successors, Politico reported, with administration officials saying that Netanyahu would likely last “a matter of months”. A White House spokesperson denied such discussions, despite signs that Biden is increasingly attempting to influence Netanyahu’s decisions. On Thursday, the U.S. called for a “pause” in fighting in Gaza in order to get aid in and hostages out, while pressure from Biden also led Israel to restore internet services in the enclave last week. Observers of the conflict have suggested that Biden’s resistance is emblematic of “effective politics” against the Republican party who want full revenge on Palestinians. But Netanyahu is getting in the way of Biden’s hopes for an end to the conflict and two-state solution. “While Netanyahu remains, Biden’s presidency is hostage to a man who will never repay the favor,” the Financial Times’ U.S. national editor wrote.