Relations between President Joe Biden and his administration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appear to be heading for a split, with Biden's aides urging him to publicly criticize the prime minister over Israel's operations in Gaza, according to inside sources close to the president.
Biden has known Netanyahu for more than 4 decades and is a strong supporter of Israel. Nevertheless, he has been keeping his frustrations with the prime minister private since the war began on Oct. 7 with the Hamas attacks, but he's beginning to agree to let his thoughts be more publicly known as Netanyahu rejects U.S. demands and publicly humiliates Biden officials, reports The Washington Post, quoting several inside sources.
In recent days, Netanyahu denounced a hostage agreement at the same time Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in the Middle East working on the matter.
Further, he announced that the Israeli military would be pushing into Rafah, a southern Gaza city to where 1.4 million Palestinians have evacuated under Israeli orders.
Netanyahu says Israel won't stop fighting in Gaza until "total victory" is achieved, but U.S. officials increasingly believe that he may not meet his goal of destroying Hamas.
The White House has been rejecting calls to withhold military aid over questions of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but Biden's aides say that he can distance himself from Netanyahu while continuing with his years-long support for Israel.
Biden, meanwhile, is starting to show some signs of his frustration with Netanyahu, including last week when he criticized Israel's Gaza campaign as being "over the top."
Earlier this month, Newsmax's Daniel Cohen also reported that Biden has labeled Netanyahu as a "bad f**king guy" as tensions grow between the two leaders.
The Rafah campaign, meanwhile, is creating more tension.
"They’re already living in tents and not getting enough food and water and you’re saying go somewhere else," an outside adviser to the White House said. "Where? How are they supposed to get there?"
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Rafah mission "would be a disaster for those people, and we would not support it."
Biden in recent days issued a national security memorandum to ensure that countries that obtain weapons from the United States agree to guidelines that include allowing humanitarian assistance to be delivered in war situations.
He also sanctioned four West Bank settlers for violent acts against Palestinians, which officials said caused Netanyahu to complain to Blinken in a private meeting last week.
One official said Biden's sharp comments last week are a reflection of what he has been saying in private.
"I don’t think anybody can look at what the Israelis have done in Gaza and not say it’s over the top,” the official said. “This gets to the frustration with the Israelis. Have they done the work on what comes next in Gaza? No. They haven’t grappled with the really hard questions.”
Netanyahu told Fox News Sunday he has not spoken to Biden since his criticism of the Israeli military response.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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