Skip to main content
First in Al-Monitor

As Gaza truce collapses, what red lines did US draw to Israel on next steps?

The Israeli government and the Biden administration at odds over tactics for renewed fighting and Gaza's future
This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows an Israeli tank crossing into the Palestinian enclave on December 1, 2023. A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas expired on December 1, with the Israeli army saying combat operations had resumed, accusing Hamas of violating the operational pause. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — The resumption of fighting between Israel and Hamas on Friday comes amid serious disagreements between the positions voiced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and those of the hawkish wing of Israel’s government. At issue are tactical decisions involving Israel’s renewed military maneuvers in Gaza as well as strategic questions about the political objectives of the war and the future administration of the enclave.

The United States, like most of the Western world, considers the Palestinian Authority (PA) the only viable postwar alternative to Hamas' rule in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, cannot afford to go along with the idea given the choke hold of his extreme right partners, for whom such a move portends future negotiations on a Palestinian state and territorial concessions. Netanyahu thus faces a choice between the future of his coalition, which is his only guarantee of remaining in power, and the national interest of his country. 

The Religious Zionism and Jewish Power parties, represented by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, respectively, are waging a high-profile campaign equating the Palestinians of Gaza with those on the West Bank, which is currently under PA administration.

Their case is supported by Hamas' surging popularity in West Bank cities, as reflected in a poll showing that Palestinian backing for the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel is greater in the West Bank than in Gaza. The survey was conducted the first week of November by Arab World for Research & Development, a public opinion research firm affiliated with Birzeit University.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.