The Biden administration is putting heavy pressure on the Israeli government since its establishment, it is having trouble digesting the victory of the right-wing camp led by Binyamin Netanyahu in the elections, American sources in the know report that in the corridors of the administration they say that President Biden would have preferred to see Yair Lapid as the head of the Israeli government or Benny Gantz, the right-wing government led by Netanyahu is like a thorn in the throat of the Biden administration, which fantasizes about establishing an independent Palestinian state along lines 67 with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Officially, the administration does not interfere in Israel’s internal political affairs, but the political pressure it exerts on Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden’s recent statements regarding judicial reform and that he will not invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington in the near future indicate a crisis in relations between the two countries and a blatant interference by the administration in the internal affairs of Israel.
It is one of the biggest crises in Israel’s relations with the US and it is not clear how long it will last and how it will end. American sources say that the Biden administration has lost confidence in Prime Minister Netanyahu and that, contrary to his promises to the president, Netanyahu’s hands are not on the wheel.
The political echelon in Israel was surprised by the harsh and unprecedented words of President Biden against the Netanyahu government and against the judicial reform, political sources in Jerusalem say that behind the scenes the American administration is exerting pressure on Netanyahu to return Yoav Galant to the position of Minister of Defense and completely cancel the judicial reform as a condition for the Prime Minister’s invitation to the White House .
The things that President Biden said in his voice to journalists are a political humiliation of the Israeli government and an unacceptable interference in Israel’s internal affairs reminiscent of President Obama’s administration and his attitude to the Netanyahu government at the time.
President Biden announced publicly that he would not soon invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington and expressed hope that he would withdraw from the judicial reform, things that completely contradicted the words of Ambassador Tom Neides to the Israeli media that Netanyahu would be invited to Washington after Passover and made the American ambassador look ridiculous.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to President Biden’s words and in the announcement he published it was stated: Israel does not make its decisions based on external pressures, Israel is an independent country that makes its decisions according to the will of its citizens, the alliance between Israel and the United States is strong and it always overcomes the differences of opinion that emerge from time to time between us.
A few hours after President Biden’s statement, John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said softer things:
Netanyahu and Biden have known each other for 40 years and as it is with friends they can be open with each other , Israel is an independent country that makes its own decisions and the president would like to see decisions with broad consensus and broad public support.
As mentioned, Prime Minister Netanyahu has personally known President Biden for 40 years and he is considered a friend of the State of Israel, therefore the American President’s words are interpreted as a slap in the face to the Prime Minister himself.
President Biden very much wants a solution to the Palestinian problem in accordance with the principle of two policies and is furious about the settlements policy of the Israeli government, about the establishment of the National Guard under the responsibility of the Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, about the recent events in the town of Hawara, and also about the statements of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich regarding Hawara and Jordan .
The progressive pressure in the Democratic Party on President Biden regarding the policies of the Netanyahu government is increasing, President Biden estimates that Netanyahu’s position has weakened greatly following the demonstrations of the protest movement and he wants to take advantage of his weakness to bend him and force him to accept the administration’s line, this is a big mistake, the American personal pressure on Netanyahu is seen in the right-wing camp as a national injury and interference in Israeli politics for the benefit of the left-wing camp, and it only strengthens Netanyahu’s position in the right-wing camp.
The harsh words of President Biden against Netanyahu come at a difficult time for Israel when Iran is only 3 weeks away from the nuclear bomb and during the month of Ramadan when Israel is threatened from several fronts at the same time, the Palestinian Authority is jubilant after Biden’s words and hopes that the American policy towards Israel has changed and that it will accelerate the fall of the right-wing government led by Netanyahu.
President Biden’s words may cause damage to Israel’s relations with Arab countries with which it has peace and normalization agreements.
Arab countries that wanted to get closer to Israel in order to gain a warmer relationship from Washington may take a step back in view of the cooling of Israel-US relations, this tension in Jerusalem’s relations with Washington will further distance the possibility of normalization in Israel’s relations with Saudi Arabia, which has already begun to distance itself from this idea following the agreement it signed with Iran on the renewal of relations between them through the mediation of China.
The Palestinians will try to take advantage of the tensions between Israel and the US to attack Israel in the international institutions and this tension could further slow down the normalization process between Israel and the Arab countries.
Morocco postponed until further notice the gathering of the Negev Forum, the United Arab Emirates canceled Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, which was postponed to an unknown date, and other Arab countries may follow this line of cooling relations with Israel, such as , Jordan, whose parliament decided to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman.
Between the US and Israel there is a strategic alliance and shared values, Prime Minister Netanyahu is very well versed in American politics and understands well the strategic importance of relations with the US, this was one of the reasons that pushed him to freeze the judicial reform.
Senior political figures in Jerusalem estimate that Prime Minister Netanyahu will do everything to prevent a deep crisis in relations with the US and estimate that he will seriously try to reach a compromise with the opposition parties regarding judicial reform, on the other hand, his response to President Biden’s remarks indicates that he will not accept the American dictate, however it is clear that he will not be able to ignore President Biden’s position on issues important to the administration.
Israel is in a difficult period from a political and security point of view and the Israeli government needs to show firmness but also flexibility, it needs to carefully navigate the political and security minefield, in the end national unity and American support are two very important pillars of Israeli deterrence and Israel’s national resilience.