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US-Israel gap widens amid fears Gaza war 'stuck,' Netanyahu dragging it out

The White House increasingly thinks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not interested in ending the Gaza war soon for his own political reasons.
This photograph taken on January 16, 2024 shows a view of the English Cemetery in the village of al-Zawaida in central Gaza Strip, amid oingoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — The crisis between Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House continues to deepen, Israeli and American diplomatic sources confirm. President Joe Biden last spoke with Netanyahu three weeks ago, while his associates prefer to engage in dialogue with war cabinet member Benny Gantz.

"As it currently stands, the Americans have run out of patience with us," a senior Israeli political source involved in the decision-making told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "They fear that Netanyahu is using the war to ensure his political survival.” 

Since the Biden administration has made no secret of its intense dislike for Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition, it is also heavily pressuring the centrist politicians who have joined the emergency war cabinet — retired army chiefs Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot — to resist calls from their voters to resign. “If things don't change, the Americans are expected to express some of their opinions publicly soon," warned the source.

According to sources in Jerusalem and Washington, some members of Biden's team as well as officials in the departments of defense and state question the rationality of Netanyahu's wartime conduct and warn that he risks dragging Israel and the region into an all-out war.

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