Netanyahu defeat brings relief, if no policy shift, for Biden

When Joe Biden entered the White House, he waited almost a month to talk to Benjamin Netanyahu, fueling perceptions he was in no hurry to please the divisive Israeli chief.

After Netanyahu was unseated Sunday, the White House fired
off a press release in minutes congratulating the brand new prime minister, Naftali
Bennett, with Biden shortly calling and telling him that “Israel has no
higher pal than the United States.”

The fall of Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in
Israeli historical past, is bringing a sigh of reduction to many within the Biden
administration, who will no longer need to take care of the pugnacious
right-winger who had intently allied himself in US politics with the rival
Republican Party.

But the shift may very well be extra about tone than substance. The
new Israeli authorities is unlikely to take a distinct view on Iran, a serious
supply of disagreement between Biden’s Democratic Party and Netanyahu, and the
unwieldiness of the coalition — which unites Bennett, a staunch supporter of
Jewish settlement of the West Bank, with centrists and leftists — makes
prospects slim for any dramatic strikes on the Palestinian concern.

“Netanyahu performed a brazen recreation of partisan politics in
the US, and I’m certain it’s a reduction for the Biden administration to be dealing
with a distinct prime minister — even if they don’t actually know what to
count on from him but,” stated Michele Dunne, director of the Middle East
program on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“What the Biden administration will hope for is that
the federal government headed by Bennett will handle the US-Israel relationship extra
quietly and amicably than Netanyahu did, and also will be extra cautious about
avoiding actions in Jerusalem and elsewhere that may inflame relations with
Palestinians,” she stated.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow on the left-leaning Center
for American Progress, stated Netanyahu’s downfall might “stabilize the
bilateral relationship in necessary methods partly due to the dearth of belief
and confidence that existed at a really private degree with Netanyahu.”

“All of the breathless nervousness about Netanyahu and what
he might or might not do seems to be prefer it’s within the rearview mirror,” Katulis
stated, whereas noting that Netanyahu — and those that share his model of politics
— are certain to stay on the Israeli political scene.

Rising criticism of Israel

New Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, a centrist who tenaciously
hammered collectively the brand new coalition, stated Monday that Netanyahu’s authorities
had taken “a horrible gamble, reckless and harmful, to focus solely
on the Republican Party and abandon Israel’s bipartisan standing.”

In a situation unthinkable a decade in the past, Israel confronted robust
criticism in Washington over its lethal offensive final month within the Gaza Strip,
with the left-wing calling for the $4 billion in annual US navy support to be
on the desk.

Biden, who has lengthy ties to Israel, confronted down the stress
and waited per week earlier than nudging Israel for a ceasefire, calculating that
public rebukes of Netanyahu might backfire.

In his ultimate remarks as prime minister, Netanyahu stated that
the Biden administration had “requested me to not focus on our disagreement on
Iran publicly” however stated that he would refuse “on issues that
endanger our existence.”

Netanyahu — who, like Bennett, has lived in and is deeply
conversant in the United States — famously circumvented Obama to handle the
Republican-led Congress in 2015 to denounce the president’s diplomacy with

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared
Kushner, a household pal of Netanyahu, rallied behind him and delivered a
policy wishlist, together with shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem, giving the inexperienced
mild if Israel sought to annex Palestinian land and trashing the Iran nuclear
deal, to which Biden helps a return.

Alliance first

Natan Sachs, director of the Brooking Institution’s Center
for Middle East Policy, stated the brand new Israeli authorities would nonetheless have
“very strong reservations” in regards to the nuclear accord however might not threat
a rupture of relations with Washington.

“On substance there really will not be that a lot
divergence, not solely between Bennett and Netanyahu however between the entire
spectrum of mainstream leaders,” Sachs stated.

“But there’s a very huge distinction between whether or not
they go to political fight with Biden over the return to compliance.”

On the Palestinian concern, Katulis stated that the Biden
administration was conscious that the ideologically numerous coalition “will not be
prone to be a components for any nice leaps ahead.”

But Katulis stated Biden, ever a pragmatist, might search
sensible progress together with easing the motion of Palestinian individuals and

With the brand new authorities, Katulis stated, the Biden administration is aware of “it is not gunning for the Nobel Prize.”

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