Netanyahu Defiant After Biden Phone Call, Rejects Push For Palestinian State

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Feb 16, 2024 - 05:00 PM

Following a Thursday phone call with US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again pushing back against the intensifying international pressure ahead of Israel's planned ground assault on Rafah, which contains over a million refugees with nowhere to go.

"Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," Netanyahu wrote on X, in defiance of a proposed ceasefire plan that external powers including the US are still trying to salvage. He has also called it essentially a "reward to terrorists".

"My positions can be summarized in the following two sentences," said Netanyahu in the aftermath of the call. "Israel categorically rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. Such an arrangement will be reached only through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions."

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As for the White House side, Biden said he stressed to Netanyahu there must be a legitimate plan in place for the safe evacuation of civilians before an assault on Rafah to root out Hamas proceeds. According to the readout:

“The president reaffirmed his commitment to working tirelessly to support the release of all hostages as soon as possible, recognizing their appalling situation after 132 days in Hamas captivity,” the readout said. “The president and the prime minister also discussed the situation in Gaza, and the urgency of ensuring that humanitarian assistance is able to get to Palestinian civilians in desperate need.”

On Rafah, the statement said Biden “reiterated his view that a military operation should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the civilians in Rafah.”

But the reality is that Washington is going to do nothing when the tanks and infantry start moving on Rafah and its largely refugee population of some 1.5 million. So far the White House has sanctioned a handful of settlers as a weak attempt to appease Progressives who are outraged at Biden's Israel policy.

As we detailed earlier, Egypt is bracing for a flood of displaced to pour into its borders. The crisis is soon to get a lot worse, also ratcheting the pressure on Arab governments to react.

Former MI6 spy and Middle East analyst Alastair Crooke lays out what is happening regarding Biden's failed policies and current inability to reign in Israel:

Recall how Tom Friedman set out how the “Biden Doctrine” was supposed to fit together as a interlinked whole: First, through taking a “strong and resolute stand on Iran” the US would signal to “our Arab and Muslim allies, that it needs to take on Iran in a more aggressive manner … that we can no longer allow Iran to try to drive us out of the region; Israel into extinction and our Arab allies into intimidation by acting through proxies — Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Shiite militias in Iraq — while Tehran blithely sits back and pays no price.”

The second strand was the Saudi dangle that would inevitably pave the path into the (third) element which was the “building of a credible legitimate Palestinian Authority as … a good neighbor to Israel ….” This “bold US commitment to a Palestinian state would give us [Team Biden] legitimacy to act against Iran,” Friedman foresaw.

Let us be plain: this trifecta of policies, rather than gel into a single doctrine, are falling like dominoes. Their collapse owes to one thing: The original decision to back Israel’s use of overwhelming violence across Gaza’s civil society – ostensibly to defeat Hamas. It has turned the region and much of the World against the US and Europe.

How did this happen? Because nothing changed by way of US policies. It was the same old western bromides from decades ago: financial threats, bombing and violence. And the insistence on one mandatory “stand with Israel” narrative (with no discussion).

The rest of the world has grown tired of it; even defiant towards it.

Indeed these collapsing dominoes will come into fuller view as the Rafah offensive proceeds and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians begin flooding into Egypt. Meanwhile Egyptians themselves are getting increasingly angry at their US-propped up government, and the Camp David accords which keep the peace with Israel and the brutal status quo in the Gaza Strip.