At the moment of the greatest trial, Donald Trump turned his back on Benjamin Netanyahu. This could determine whether the Democrats will remain in the White House in 2024.
Donald Trump is vindictive. He has not forgotten how Bibi Netanyahu rushed to congratulate Joe Biden at the end of 2020, while Trump kept maintaining (as he still continues to do) that he won the election.
In recent days, the billionaire has repeatedly attacked Netanyahu. He accused him of not being “prepared” for the Hamas attack.
He also said that Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist organization that poses a huge threat to Israel from Lebanon, is “very smart.”
According to Rolling Stone, Trump expressed his hope, in a private conversation, that Netanyahu would be removed from the post of prime minister after the Hamas attack on Israel.
This was met with a strong reaction from Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination in the upcoming fight for the White House. As many as 77% of Republican voters think that America should unconditionally support the Jewish state; the percentage of the Democratic electorate is 66%.
What Can Biden Gain from Trump’s Attack on Netanyahu?
Throughout his presidency, Trump did a lot for Israel. In 2018, he decided to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, signifying America’s recognition of the city as the capital of Israel. This prompted the Palestinian Authority to sever ties with the U.S. administration at the time. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who is Jewish, prepared an extremely favorable peace plan for Israel that would have allowed Netanyahu to annex most of the West Bank.
The plan didn’t materialize, but instead, Trump pushed for the Abraham Accords, allowing for the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. Biden wanted to follow suit and bring about a similar agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Israel’s Ynet reported that the U.S. has accepted the Israeli version of the tragedy that occurred Tuesday night at the hospital in the Gaza Strip — that it resulted from a missile strike by Islamic Jihad that missed its target.
Yet Trump’s surprise attack on Netanyahu has opened the door for Democrats to assume the traditional role of Republicans in Washington: that of being Israel’s best friend. And this can have a big impact on the outcome of the presidential election next year because of the influence of the Jewish minority and of conservative evangelical circles.
Biden in Israel: What Does He Want To Accomplish?
So far, Biden has used this opportunity well. First, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and then the president himself visited Israel to show their solidarity with the country. Two American aircraft carriers, the USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, appeared in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. Even David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel under Trump, praised the current administration.
Yet, Biden’s plan is not easy to implement. The president assumes that the Hamas attack is as groundbreaking as the Holocaust and that Israel has the right to destroy the terrorist organization. Washington will stand with the Israelis, not with direct military intervention, but rather by providing the necessary arms.
At the same time, Biden wants to use rapprochement with Netanyahu to convince him to limit the loss of civilian lives as much as possible. The president embarked on the journey to the Middle East after Israel agreed to create a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of residents of the Gaza Strip to Egypt. Once there, he wants to convince the Palestinians of the real prospect of building their own state. The plan also assumes that moderate Fatah will replace Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Such a plan will succeed only if the Israeli invasion of Gaza is not excessively prolonged and does not cause too many casualties. Biden, to the outrage of Republicans, maintains cooperation with Iran with the hope that Tehran will not intervene directly against Israel.
The deepening crisis in Congress is also a problem for Biden. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan has so far failed to garner enough votes to become the new speaker. Without a speaker, Congress will not be able to approve aid to Israel.*
Jordan, a Trump-affiliated radical and an opponent of Ukraine support, may find it difficult to be accepted by moderate Republicans. The Democratic opposition will certainly not support him. However, the implosion of the Republican Party may significantly increase Biden’s chances of being reelected.
*Editor’s Note: On Oct. 25, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected by the House of Representatives to serve as its speaker.