President Joe Biden and his top aides are coping with the escalation of violence in Israel on Saturday, as well as a delicate diplomatic scenario unlike any prior war between Israelis and Palestinians.
Friendships between Biden and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, have been tested by Netanyahu’s far-right governing coalition in Israel.
The Palestinians’ broken political landscape will make it harder for American officials to find a reliable bargaining partner.
In the United States, an already active Republican presidential primary campaign appears set to accuse Biden for facilitating attacks on Israel through his recent deal with Iran.
In the background is a historic normalisation accord between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which Biden had anticipated was nearing completion.It all adds up to one of the most hazardous geopolitical circumstances of Biden’s presidency, which is also dealing with a war in Ukraine, which has become a politically charged topic in the United States.
In a phone discussion with Netanyahu on Saturday, Biden said, “We stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel.”
When severe violence erupted between Gaza and Israel last year, Biden and other American officials played a vital behind-the-scenes role in mediating a cease-fire. The president called six times with Netanyahu and once with Palestinian power President Mahmoud Abbas (who has no real power over Gaza) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
US officials were also in constant contact with regional officials, relying on leaders in Egypt and Qatar to engage with Palestinian terrorist organisations in Gaza to reach an agreement on a ceasefire.
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