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Biden Backhands Bibi: 'Every Reason' To Believe Netanyahu Prolonging War For Political Survival

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 04, 2024 - 05:00 PM

There is a bizarre blame-game among close allies the United States and Israel playing out publicly. When Biden on Friday unveiled that the US is fully backing the latest Gaza ceasefire deal on the table, the US president characterized it as an Israeli proposal.

But the Israeli prime minister quickly distance himself from it, calling it "incomplete". Israeli officials have also rejected as "inaccurate" that it was ever an Israeli-proposed deal to begin with. This in turn led reporters to question the Biden administration on the apparent contradiction, and White House spokesman John Kirby pushed back and told a press briefing, "this is an Israeli proposal and the president characterized it accurately."

A senior Hamas official has meanwhile insisted that "it is not Hamas hampering the deal." Abu Zuhri said that it is the Israeli side that is not serious about the deal, and that it is stalling and maneuvering under Washington cover "despite the White House knowing that the problem lies with [Israel]."

Via Reuters

Summarizing where things stand in this awkward back-and-forth, one geopolitical commentator, Ryan Cristian, told Russian media that "It’s clear that there was an agreement on this for Israel and the US before it was submitted to Hamas, just like last time."

"We don't know for sure whether this was Israel bluffing and using the US to be the deliverer of that bluff and then just when Hamas accepted and called their bluff, that's when they pulled back because, well, they don't want this war to end," Cristian continued. "I believe that in every possible sense."

All of this has led the White House to lose patience, with aides perhaps sensing that it's ultimately Biden left with egg on his face following Netanyahu's coldness toward what was billed as an "Israeli proposal" (well, Bibi is still said to be 'open' we are told).

President Biden has hit back at Netanyahu personally in a newly published Time magazine interview, asserting that that people have "every reason" to believe that PM Netanyahu is dragging out the war in Gaza for his own political survival.

"There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion," Biden told the publication. Below is the full section from the interview:

Asked if Israeli forces have committed war crimes in Gaza, Biden says, “It’s uncertain.” From the start, the Administration knew Israel was pushing the limits of legal warfare, the Washington Post and others have reported. The conflict is driving a wedge between the U.S. and its allies. On May 31, Biden laid out a phased cease-fire plan that would end the war and secure the release of hostages. He has continued to pursue the complicated regional deal with Saudi Arabia.

Some close to Biden say the only holdout to the broader pact is Netanyahu. The President declines to say as much, but when asked by TIME if Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political reasons, Biden admits, “There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion.”

Already this fresh accusation has hit the front pages of Israeli newspapers. One question that remains is what Biden plans to do about it. Will he bring real pressure to bear on Netanyahu or will this just stop at negative words? Here is how the Associated Press encapsulated the dilemma

President Joe Biden is looking past resistance from key Israeli officials as he presses Israel and Hamas to agree to a three-phase agreement that could immediately bring home dozens of Israeli hostages, free Palestinian prisoners and perhaps even lead to an endgame in the nearly eight-month-old Gaza war.

Biden's big swing — during a tough reelection battle — could also demonstrate to a significant slice of his political base demoralized by his handling of the conflict that he's doing his part to end the war that has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians and left hundreds of thousands struggling to meet basic needs.

The fact that Washington and Tel Aviv can't get on the same page continues to be on full display in awkward admin press briefings, leading some to point out that someone must be lying...

The White House is without doubt realizing that the Gaza crisis and Biden's inability to exert real influence is an embarrassment headed into the November election. 

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