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Netanyahu and his bet on Trump

July 5, 2024 at 11:01 am

US President Donald Trump (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the White House on 27 January 2020 in Washington, DC [Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency]

It seems that the repercussions of the debate recently held between current US President Joe Biden and his rival, former US President Donald Trump, which caused a crisis for the former, fuelled a campaign led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the current US administration, and aims, among other things, to hold it responsible for Israel’s failure to achieve absolute victory in its war against the Gaza Strip. In light of this campaign that those close to Netanyahu have continued to ignite over the past few days, we have come across two related features.

The first is accusing the Biden administration of being the one preventing Israel from achieving the “desired victory” in the war it has been waging against Gaza since 7 October by placing conditions on Israel and delaying arms shipments to it. Looking at what is written by those closest to Netanyahu, other suspicions arise before our eyes regarding that administration’s positions on Iran. Several days ago, one of them, a historian specialising in American history, Gadi Taub, wrote that the Biden administration is convinced that the path to establishing calm in the Middle East will go through de-escalation and reaching deals with Iran.

It is a systematic policy initiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama, and still, at its core, the goal is reducing US intervention in the region, in order to prevent being drawn into wars. In his opinion, contrary to the policy pursued by Trump, what the Biden administration is doing does not strengthen the power of the United States’ allies against Tehran. Rather, on the contrary, it causes it to move away from its allies and take steps towards Iran, which would give the US a new status of an arbitrator who does not have any biassed tendencies toward one party or another. According to his reading, from the first day it took office in the White House, the Biden Administration sent signals to the Iranians indicating that it was seeking to reach settlements with them.

Trump: ‘Let Israel finish the job’ in Gaza

Its first steps were to remove the Houthis from the list of terrorist organisations and stop sending offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia that could help it fight the Houthis in Yemen. This administration also imposed the maritime border demarcation agreement with Lebanon on Israel, refrained from imposing economic sanctions on Iran, and released financial sums to it estimated at about $100 billion. Taub reaches the following conclusion: The US has been able to curb Iran for a long time, but since Biden took power in the White House, it has been doing the exact opposite.

The second feature is publicly declaring Netanyahu’s bet on Trump’s return to the White House, after his victory in the upcoming elections. The two will then return to what has been described as the “golden era” of their relationship which prevailed during Trump’s presidency.

According to what an analyst wrote in the Israel Hayom newspaper, there are those who have begun to rub their hands with anticipation in Israel and expect Trump to be elected president. They believe that if he becomes president of the US, all the problems of arms shipments and humanitarian problems imposed by the Biden administration on Israel will disappear. On the other hand, it was stated in other analyses, especially by military analyst Ron Ben-Yishai, that it should be remembered that Trump has many reservations about Netanyahu. Likewise, Trump’s position on the war on Gaza was contradictory. At first, he supported it, then he said that Israel must end it. Now, he is back to supporting the continuation of the war and the destruction of Hamas.

Hence, the big problem with him is that he does not know which side he will wake up on every morning, and what decision he will make before drinking his coffee. On the other hand, it is clear that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will be alongside Trump in the White House, and he is a great friend of Israel. Kushner is the architect behind the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and the display of American power in the Gulf region and the Middle East.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arab48 on 3 July 2024

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.