Blinken tells Prime Minister Netanyahu Israel can't defeat Hamas

 January 18, 2024

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asserting that a military solution is not the answer to dealing with Hamas.

He emphasized the necessity for Israel to acknowledge the prospect of a Palestinian state, something Netanyahu reportedly rebuffed.

The situation

In response to Netanyahu's resistance, the Biden administration is taking an unconventional approach, attempting to bypass the democratically-elected leader of Israel.

Blinken is actively engaging with other Israeli leaders and members of civil society in anticipation of a potential post-Netanyahu government.

In an effort to work around Netanyahu's opposition, Blinken held individual meetings with key figures, including members of the war Cabinet and opposition leader Yair Lapid.

The challenge

Challenges loom for Blinken as a significant portion of the Israeli populace believes in their ability to triumph in the ongoing conflict and perceives the elimination of Hamas as a viable goal.

The IDF spokesperson highlighted progress in neutralizing Hamas in certain regions but acknowledged ongoing challenges in the southern part of Gaza.

A pivotal shift in Israeli public sentiment occurred following a terror attack on October 7, resulting in mass casualties. The Gallup polls reveal a dramatic transformation, with nearly two-thirds of Israelis now opposing the idea of a Palestinian state.

This marks a stark departure from the prevailing sentiment a decade ago when a majority supported the creation of such a state.

Biden's blunders

Blinken and President Joe Biden are advocating a return to the traditional Middle East peacemaking model, prioritizing the Palestinian issue before other diplomatic initiatives.

This stands in contrast to the Trump administration's rejection of such sequencing, which culminated in the historic Abraham Accords.

The Biden administration is pushing for peace agreements, such as a potential Saudi-Israeli deal, with the condition that they are contingent on the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, reports suggest that the Biden administration might have inadvertently hindered a Saudi-Israeli deal by insisting on additional concessions for the Palestinians, demands not put forth by the Saudis.

This intricate situation underscores the multifaceted nature of Middle East diplomacy and the diverse perspectives within the region. The Biden administration's efforts to navigate these challenges hold significant implications for the future dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian relations and broader regional peace initiatives.

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