Joe Biden’s advisers believe Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as Israel’s prime minister are numbered, a report said Wednesday, and are closely watching his potential successors.
Biden has told Netanyahu he needs to think about the lessons he would pass on to his successors. Politico reported.
A current US official told the website that the shocking intelligence failures that enabled Hamas’ attack and unrest in some neighborhoods due to the massive loss of life in Gaza had severely weakened Netanyahu.
The official said some expected Netanyahu could be out of office within months once the initial reaction in Gaza is over.
“There needs to be a reckoning within Israeli society about what happened,” the official said. “Ultimately the money ends up stuck at the prime minister’s desk.”
Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in Tel Aviv on October 18
Biden and Netanyahu, seen in Washington DC in 2010, have known each other for decades
Netanyahu appeared to acknowledge this on Saturday when he tweeted late night that his intelligence agencies had failed him by failing to detect the long-planned terror attack.
Hours later, he deleted the tweet and apologized – a rare move for Netanyahu and a sign that he is on shaky ground.
An assessment of the intelligence community’s failures is likely to cause even more headaches for Netanyahu, and a U.S. report could be even more damning, Politico reported.
The US president has known Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – for decades.
The relationship between the two is not particularly close: Netanyahu has been a strong supporter of Donald Trump and a family friend of Jared Kushner, and has criticized Barack Obama and Biden’s overtures toward Iran.
Netanyahu appeared to blame security and intelligence officials for failing to recognize signs of Hamas’ devastating invasion
The Biden administration, for its part, believes more effort should be made to work toward a two-state solution and is dismayed by Netanyahu’s autocratic tendencies and highly controversial attempts to reshape the judiciary.
“They know this is who they have to work with now, and no one has suddenly learned who they are dealing with,” said one person familiar with the government’s approach to Israel.
But Biden has steadfastly supported Netanyahu after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack and visited Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Oct. 18 to strongly demonstrate the U.S. position.
However, after this visit, the issue of Netanyahu’s shaky political control was discussed. Politico reported.
Two senior administration officials told Politico that the issue came up during meetings at the White House where Biden was present.
Netanyahu’s support in the polls has fallen since the Oct. 7 attacks.
A Times of Israel An October 13 poll showed a clear preference for Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz to lead the country: 48 percent want the former defense minister, compared to 29 percent for the current prime minister.
ID chief Herzi Halevi received 57 percent approval, while Defense Minister Yoav Gallant received 54 percent support.
Netanyahu received only 42 percent of support.
American officials are in contact with Gantz and Gallant, both members of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, as well as Naftali Bennett, a former prime minister; and Yair Lapid, an opposition leader and former prime minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz speak during a press conference at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv
Yair Lapid, former prime minister (left), is seen as a possible successor, as is Naftali Bennett (right).
Palestinians search the rubble for bodies and survivors after Israeli airstrikes on Al Falouja in the city of Jabalia on Wednesday
Palestinians carry a wounded girl after being rescued from among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the Jabaliya refugee camp on Wednesday
During his visit to Tel Aviv, Biden urged Netanyahu to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza as much as possible, and the White House’s concerns about the rising death toll in Gaza have only increased.
U.S. officials have warned publicly and privately that Israel must have a clear military objective and a plan for what happens if they succeed in ousting Hamas.
They have warned Netanyahu to learn the lessons of the US overthrow of Iraq and Afghanistan’s rulers.
“Even the best-case scenario for Israel in this war would likely not keep Netanyahu in power because the horror of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack will still be fresh and because so many Israelis already attribute the lack of security directly to Netanyahu’s policies,” said he Hagar Chemali, a former National Security Council and Treasury Department official in the Obama administration.
“Conversely, I still believe that Netanyahu is on the way out, even if the war drags on or more fronts open, because Israelis are already publicly questioning whether he is really the right person, not just the one to fight not only to win the specific fight against Hamas, but also the fight beyond it. ‘War for a peaceful and secure Israel.’
A National Security Council spokesman denied that Netanyahu’s future had been mentioned, saying the issue “has not been and will not be discussed by the president.”
Adrienne Watson added: “Our focus is on the immediate crisis.”
The Israeli embassy in Washington DC denied Politico’s claims.
“The internal political scenario described in this article was never raised in discussions between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent weeks,” a spokesman said.