Gaza-Israel War, Biden, Analysis

Biden's Middle East Challenges Deepen Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

Hostage rescue and political turmoil in Israel complicate Biden's diplomatic and domestic strategies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with United States President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Photo by Flash90/Miriam Alster)

President Joe Biden's efforts to mitigate the conflict between Israel and Hamas have been severely hampered by recent developments. An Israeli special forces mission in Gaza rescued four hostages, but resulted in the deaths of numerous Palestinian civilians. This mission has further strained Biden's relationship with progressive voters critical of his support for Israel, a situation that could impact his chances in key swing states like Michigan, which has a significant Arab American population.

The disparity in casualties between Palestinians and Israelis risks further isolating Israel internationally. This dynamic complicates US diplomatic efforts in the region, led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who continues to press for a ceasefire and negotiations.

Domestically, the resignation of centrist Benny Gantz from Israel's war cabinet exacerbates the political turmoil. Gantz criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for lacking a post-war strategy and called for elections. His departure could empower hard-right elements within Netanyahu's coalition, potentially escalating the conflict further and making it harder to reach a peace agreement.

Gantz's resignation and the political instability in Israel pose a significant test for Biden, especially as Netanyahu's government remains intact but more reliant on hard-right factions. This situation may hinder any peace deal with Hamas and further complicate US-Israeli relations. Netanyahu's continued defiance of US calls to protect Palestinian civilians and his alignment with Republicans in the US also contribute to Biden's domestic political challenges.

Biden's Middle East strategy is under scrutiny, with his administration caught between progressive Democrats advocating for Palestinian rights and Republicans supporting Netanyahu. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan emphasized the need for a ceasefire, despite skepticism about its feasibility.

The ongoing conflict and Biden's handling of it could have significant implications for his re-election campaign, particularly as Netanyahu prepares to address Congress.

Biden faces relentless pressure to end the Gaza conflict. However, with Netanyahu's enduring political resilience and the complex geopolitical landscape, achieving a lasting resolution remains an arduous task. Analysts predict a prolonged conflict in Gaza, with US efforts to broker peace continuing amid these significant political and diplomatic hurdles.


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