Netanyahu is losing Israeli’s support

President Biden is right. The Israeli prime minister is damaging Israel's future



March 15, 2024 - 4:07 PM

Israeli left wing activists lift placards and banners as they rally against the war in Gaza outside the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on Feb. 3, 2024. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Tensions between the leaders of Israel and the US have boiled over, with President Joe Biden accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of doing more to harm than help his own country. These are harsh words to hear from your most important ally, and Biden went further still. He described the Israeli government’s plan to attack Rafah — currently home to as many as 1 million refugees from the war — as a “red line” that must not be crossed. Bibi was unimpressed.

Locator map of attack in Gaza City

After Biden spoke, Israel’s great political survivor doubled down on his pledge to attack Rafah, so as to finish Hamas off once and for all. In an interview with the German media group Axel Springer SE, Netanyahu also said that if Biden meant to say he’d been acting against the wishes of the majority of Israelis, and was damaging the nation’s interests, then the US president was wrong on both counts. The reply was as shrewd as it was misleading.

Biden’s Gaza policy is a mess, but on this question he is absolutely right: Netanyahu has been a catastrophic leader for the state of Israel. His core policies, focused on settling the territory of the West Bank and ensuring there could never be a Palestinian state, were responsible for shifting the attention of Israel’s security forces away from Gaza. Hamas alone made the choice to launch its savage Oct. 7 attack, but Netanyahu’s misguided policies allowed it to succeed.