US policy expert calls to revise Biden-Netanyahu relationship

Richard Haass, former head of the Council on Foreign Relations and former member of the US State Department, approached senior aides and leaders last month, such as US Vice President Kamala Harris, to outline a plan to change the relationship between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in light of the country’s war with Hamas, Politico reported on Friday.

Biden has expressed concern over Israel’s military campaign in Gaza – with criticism emanating not only from the president and senior officials in his administration but also from foreign policy experts such as Haass.

Haass, like many in Washington, is advocating for the president to distance himself from Netanyahu and establish clear expectations and goals for Israel’s military campaign and the future of Gaza.

Prior to Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7 and the war’s outbreak, tensions simmered between Biden and Netanyahu. However, since the onset of the conflict, the leaders also clashed over topics such as the creation of a Palestinian state.

Shifting strategies

One example of Haass’s proposed strategy for navigating the Israel-Hamas conflict is for Biden to deliver a speech outlining the intentions of the war before the Israeli Knesset. However, the White House confirmed recently that the president is not scheduled to visit Israel at this time.

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, speaks during the Milken Institute’s 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 1, 2019. (credit: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS)

Tensions persist between the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Biden administration. While Biden, along with several other states, has called for the creation of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu has consistently rejected the proposal.

Haass, amongst other aides, sees Biden’s relationship with Netanyahu as damaging the US’s reputation abroad as well as harming the president’s reelection campaign internally.

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