Shattered Netanyahu’s Legacy and the War Saved him

The U.S.-Israel Relationship in the 1948-57 War over the Suez Canal: The Case for a Reform of the 1967 War

U.S.-Israel relations are now strained over Gaza — and it’s not the first time Israel’s military operations there have drawn criticism from the White House.

The year was 1956. Israel, Britain and France had just invaded Egyptian territory in a bid to take over the Suez Canal, which Egypt had decided to nationalize.

President Eisenhower ended the brief conflict in the middle of it. But in the months afterward, Israel resisted a United Nations resolution that called for it to pull its troops out of the Gaza Strip, then controlled by Egypt.

“Repeated, but so far unsuccessful, efforts have been made to bring about a voluntary withdrawal by Israel,” Eisenhower said in a nationally televised speech. “It was a matter of keen disappointment to us that the government of Israel, despite the United Nations action, still felt unwilling to withdraw.

This is part of the current moment. Biden is proposing $14 billion in military assistance to Israel — which is already the leading U.S. recipient of such aid. Yet the president is criticizing Israel’s military operations and telling the country what not to do in Gaza.

“They agreed that they share the objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah. The US side expressed their concerns with the various courses of action. The US and Israel agreed to have follow up discussions after the Israeli side took these concerns into account.

Jeremy Ben-Ami is the head of J Street, a Washington group that calls itself pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-democracy.

Netanyahu has aligned himself with Republicans in the U.S. over the past few years. He’s also waged very public battles with the past three Democratic presidents: Bill Clinton, over peace negotiations with the Palestinians; Barack Obama, over a nuclear deal with Iran; and now Biden, over the war in Gaza.

Netanyahu said that he believed Prime Minister Schumer lost his way because he allowed his political survival to interfere with the best interests of Israel.

Relations between the US and Israel have rebounded after a period of disagreements. Robert Satloff, who heads the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, believes this will happen again.

“I expect that out of the current difficulty, with the passage of time, there will be renewed commitment to strengthen this relationship again,” he said.

Ben-Ami, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Security of Israel: Why Israel is Safe and How to Keep It Alive After the Gaza War

The moment Israel’s devastating war in the Gaza Strip ends, the unfinished conflict within Israel over its future will begin again. Benjamin Netanyahu and his partners know this. They have set a very lofty goal of total victory, which is why they have refused to negotiate an end to the fighting in exchange for releasing the hostages. After almost six months, this war is already Israel’s longest since Israel’s war of independence.

“My parents and their grandparents went through the Holocaust. My father’s family fought for Israel’s independence,” said Ben-Ami. “It’s a completely different life experience than the young person born in the 21st century. It’s not at all a surprise that there is a completely different conversation happening on college campuses versus what’s happening in senior citizen centers.”

So his secretary of state, James Baker, delivered a blunt message in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “It’s gonna take some really good faith, affirmative effort, on the part of our good friends in Israel. The phone number is 1-202-456-1414 and should be seen by everyone. When you’re serious about peace, call us.”

In the weeks following Hamas’s gruesome Oct. 7 incursion, Mr. Netanyahu’s political future looked bleak. The prime minister had long boasted that his more than 15 years in power had been Israel’s most secure; Hamas’s attack shattered that legacy. The man who described himself as “Mr. Security,” who said he hoped to be remembered as “the protector of Israel,” appeared responsible for the deadliest single day in Israel’s history. Even as military and intelligence leaders have since stepped up to take the blame, Mr. Netanyahu has pointedly refused to acknowledge his own culpability.

A poll published in January found that only 15 percent of Israelis wanted him to remain in office after the war. And, in another recent poll, by Israel’s Channel 13, most Israelis said they did not trust Mr. Netanyahu’s handling of the war. Support for his right-wing Likud party has likewise cratered.

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