Netanyahu’s Rule Is Getting More Perilous for Israel and the USA


Several times I’ve noted this key oddity of the Israel-Hamas war: it is certainly the gravest crisis in Israel in a half century and yet it is being led by an Israeli leader who is now overwhelmingly discredited within his own country. And there is no sign that that public rejection is fading as the war enters its second month. Polls continue to tell the same story. Indeed, last week the right wing daily that was literally founded to support Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel HaYom, called on Netanyahu to resign at the close of the war. The difference is that the costs and dangers of Netanyahu’s continued rule are growing graver and appearing in a starker relief.


One confusion for some in the United States is the belief that the intensity and ferocity of Israel’s response to the events of October 7th is tied to Netanyahu himself. That is not the case. While public opinion is complicated and there are disagreements over strategy, the current war has overwhelming support within Israel. It’s quite unlikely that any head of government who seems at all plausible would be prosecuting it in a different way.


To the extent there are disagreements it’s over what comes afterwards. What happens in Gaza? Who controls Gaza? Is it again governed by some kind of Israeli military occupation? Is it governed by the Palestinian Authority? Is it governed by some kind of international force?


From a distance, it’s not clear to me what kind of support there is in Israel for these various scenarios. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like the range of possibilities has been digested or become coherent enough among Israelis in any way that can be described concretely. The universal credo in Israel is that success in the current war comes first — which is usually defined as destroying Hamas as a military entity and ending its rule in Gaza. But that punting also avoids coming up with solutions or making decisions most seem unwilling or unready to make anyway.


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