Benny Gantz, a rival of Netanyahu, will brief US leaders

Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, is scheduled to confer with senior Biden administration officials during his trip to the United States.

As the Gaza conflict enters its fifth month, the anticipated meetings beginning on Monday are said to have infuriated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and appear to portend a growing schism in Tel Aviv.

Vice President Kamala Harris will welcome Gantz, a former defense minister and army chief. This development is interpreted as an indication of the White House’s increasing discontent with Netanyahu. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, will also reportedly meet with Gantz, according to his centrist National Unity party.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has led calls for Netanyahu to permit the passage of additional aid to alleviate humanitarian distress in Gaza, where famine is now looming, will meet with Gantz on Tuesday.

An additional point of contention between Israel and the United States is the post-conflict governance structure for the enclave.

Improved relations

Netanyahu, who was presumably unaware of the trip until Gantz called him on Friday, “made it clear to Minister Gantz that the State of Israel has only one prime minister,” according to Israeli media.

According to reports, the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC was instructed not to facilitate the “unauthorized” journey.

The purpose of the visit, according to an Israeli official who spoke anonymously to The Associated Press, is to enhance relations with the United States, garner support for Israel’s operation against Gaza, and exert pressure on Hamas to liberate all Israeli prisoners.

Willem Marx of Al Jazeera reported from occupied East Jerusalem that a source close to Gantz disclosed that the politician had not instigated the visit, nor was it wholly at the US officials’ invitation.Benny Gantz, a rival of Netanyahu, will brief US leaders

Marx stated, “Clearly, there are those in the United States who wish to establish an alternative channel of communication with an individual intimately involved in the decision-making process of the Israeli government.”

“Gantz, in his capacity as a member of the war cabinet, considers it his responsibility to attempt to establish that line of communication… in light of the extremely public dispute between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the past few months.”

US-Israel Tensions Rise Amid Gaza Conflict

An increasing number of US regional objectives have been impeded by Netanyahu’s ultranationalist majority cabinet. Gantz’s political party, which became a member of the government in October concurrent with the formation of the war cabinet, offers a counterbalance that seems to be more in line with the stance of Washington, despite maintaining its military supply support for Israel.

A ceasefire has been a constant objective for the United States, while Israel and Hamas are presently engaged in negotiations regarding a potential new agreement that would halt hostilities and release prisoners. Furthermore, it has demanded that Netanyahu prevent an imminent attack on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza and pave the way for additional medical and food supplies.

Sunday’s statement by Harris, which is considered an uncommon public censure for its ally, demanded an “immediate” cessation of hostilities in Gaza and reiterated the demand for additional aid to be permitted into the besieged enclave.

The United States dropped humanitarian aid into Gaza via airdrop on Saturday, immediately after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians rushing to an Israel-organized convoy carrying food, killing at least 115.

Despite circumventing a convoluted aid delivery system hampered by logistical challenges, Israeli restrictions, and conflict in Gaza, aid officials assert that airdrops are considerably less effective than truck deliveries.

Polling difficulties

Since the outbreak of war, Netanyahu’s popularity has declined significantly, with many in the country holding him accountable for his failure to prevent Hamas’ October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,139 people and the capture of approximately 250 others.

His extreme right-wing government is accused by Israelis of responding slowly to the assaults and leaving the victims largely without assistance in the aftermath.

According to Israeli media, thousands marched late on Saturday to demand early elections, even though the majority of Israelis support the conflict.

According to a survey conducted by Israeli Channel 13, 53% of Israeli citizens hold the belief that Netanyahu’s decision to extend the Gaza War is motivated by the need for political survival.

The poll indicated that in the event of present-day elections, Gantz’s National Unity party would secure 39 seats, while Netanyahu’s Likud party would secure only 17. Twelve seats would be awarded to the opposition Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid, which has demanded Netanyahu’s resignation.

Disagreements with the United States, the most important ally of Israel, have not benefited Netanyahu.

While the White House expresses its desire for Palestinian statehood and a reformed Palestinian leadership overseeing Gaza, this vision is opposed by Netanyahu and the hardliners in his government.

In contrast, Gantz’s stance on the establishment of a Palestinian state has been ambiguous. His party’s representatives have also raised doubts regarding Netanyahu’s management of the conflict and the approach taken to liberate the captives.

If the captive negotiations make progress during the politician’s visit to the United States, it could potentially strengthen his domestic and, more likely, international support base.

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