The Biden administration is bypassing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in plans for post-war Gaza, discussing the future of the Strip and the region with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab nations, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
Quoting officials, the American broadcaster said the U.S. president had grown frustrated with Netanyahu as evidenced by the lack of communications between the two leaders in recent weeks after they had spoken regularly in the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7.
“The officials said the Biden administration is trying to lay the groundwork with other Israeli and civil society leaders in anticipation of an eventual post-Netanyahu government. In an attempt to work around Netanyahu,” NBC News said in the report
The U.S. has come out in support of Israel in its war and its objectives to eliminate Hamas as a military power and remove its leaders from their rule over the embattled Strip, but Netanyahu had rejected any discussions of negotiating an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict and the eventual establishment of a Palestinian State, a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia in a possible normalization deal with Israel and in its involvement in the rebuilding of Gaza without Hamas.
Blinken, who visited the region for a fourth time since the war began, reportedly told Netanyahu that “ultimately there is no military solution to Hamas, according to the officials, and that the Israeli leader needs to recognize that or history will repeat itself and violence will continue.” But, the officials said, Netanyahu was unmoved.
“Arab countries are saying … we’re not going to get into the business, for example, of rebuilding Gaza, only to have it leveled again in a year or five years, and then be asked to rebuild it again,” Blinken told CNBC in an interview.
Two senior administration officials told the network that Biden’s hopes for a regional shift that would reshape the Middle East was linked the to the establishment of a Palestinian state, as a result, one official said. the president’s aspirations may have to wait until a different government comes into power in Israel.