Netanyahu will block any attempts at peace

Netanyahu will block any attempts at peace

Alon Pinkas writes:

If you think reports of Netanyahu rejecting an Israeli proposal are bizarre, think again. After all, this isn’t so much George Orwell’s 1984 but Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2024. The moment the Israeli leader stipulated that Israel would “reserve the right to return to war”, it was clear that the “Israeli proposal” presented by the US president, Joe Biden, last Friday, to end hostilities with a three-part hostage release and ceasefire deal, was dead in the water. Netanyahu wasn’t just placating his extreme rightwing coalition but reneging on an agreement that he had never wanted in the first place.

The proposal, which Biden said had emerged from negotiations with “leaders of Israel, Qatar, and Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries”, offered a “roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages”. The plan included a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as part of its first phase and would also have seen the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, along with, in the latter stages, the brokering of a permanent ceasefire. That’s where Netanyahu’s stipulations, conditions and interpretation of the conflict makes any deal that obfuscates his goal to “destroy Hamas” unattainable, even if technically it is Hamas that seems to have rejected it.

For many years, Netanyahu had the reputation of being risk-averse. Apologists said that, notwithstanding the bluster, demagoguery and sanctimony he exuded, he was fundamentally cautious and balanced. His detractors, on the other hand, claimed that he was spurious by nature, that this was not circumspection or astuteness but rather cowardice, endemic vacillation and an inherent inability to make decisions.

Risk-averse or not, his only calculus, both sides agree, is political survival by any and all means. With his political life-expectancy threatened by an ongoing criminal trial, and the aftermath of the 7 October terror attack and ensuing war, whatever risk-aversion he may have exhibited in the past has been replaced by sheer recklessness and crude cynicism. [Continue reading…]

CNN reports:

A CIA assessment circulated among US officials this week concluded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likely judges he can get away without defining a post-war plan — even as the Biden administration has launched a full-court press to pressure him to bring an end to the conflict in Gaza.

Netanyahu “probably believes he can maintain support from his security chiefs and prevent defections” from the right wing of his coalition by discussing the future of Gaza in “vague terms,” the June 3 report, reviewed by CNN, reads.

The assessment — which has not been previously reported — represents one of the most up to date intelligence assessments about Netanyahu’s mindset that has been circulated among senior US officials, according to a source familiar with internal reporting.

It comes amid a clear shift in how the Biden administration views Israel: less as a trusted partner and more as an unpredictable foreign government to be analyzed and understood.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about CNN’s reporting.

The assessment highlights how the Israeli leader is defying pressure from members of his own government and the Biden administration to define an “end state” for Gaza and warns what Netanyahu has said publicly is likely true: that he will only engage seriously on post-war issues after meeting “what he sees as key security benchmarks, which may take months.”

According to the assessment, those benchmarks include completing “major military operations” — something analysts have said is deliberately vague — as well as eliminating Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.