NewsKamal Harris met Netanyahu's opponent. Will this visit shape the Gaza War policy?

Kamal Harris met Netanyahu's opponent. Will this visit shape the Gaza War policy?

Kamal Harris met Netanyahu's opponent. Will this visit shape the Gaza War policy?
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
8:59 AM EST, March 5, 2024

In a striking move signaling a potential pivot in U.S.-Israel relations, Vice President Kamala Harris met with Benny Gantz, a key figure in Israel's wartime cabinet and a notable centrist opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This meeting, conspicuously unapproved by Netanyahu, underscores the Biden administration's mounting discontent with the Israeli leadership, particularly regarding its stance on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the critical issue of humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians.

The meeting, occurring just a day after Harris's emphatic call for a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, marks a critical juncture in the Biden administration's engagement with the complex dynamics of Israeli politics and its broader Middle East policy. Harris's plea for an "immediate cease-fire" underscores the administration's urgent push for de-escalation and addresses the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. This can be seen also as the response to global pro-Palestinian and pro-peace demonstrations.

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© PAP | PAP/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Moreover, Harris's advocacy for the expedited finalization of a hostage release deal and the call for Hamas to agree to the proposed cease-fire period highlight the administration's strategic approach to mitigating the conflict's humanitarian impact while navigating the political complexities of its relationship with Israel and the broader geopolitical challenges in the region.

This development comes amid President Biden's broader efforts to reconcile his staunch support for Israel with growing domestic and international criticism, particularly concerning the war's civilian toll, which has seen significant casualties. Harris's remarks, contextualized within her speech commemorating the civil rights movement's history, underscore the moral imperatives driving the administration's stance on the Gaza conflict.

The unfolding scenario presents a nuanced challenge for Biden's foreign policy, balancing unwavering support for Israel's security with the imperative of addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The engagement with Gantz reflects a strategic diversification of diplomatic channels. It signals potential shifts in the U.S.'s approach to Israeli politics and its vision of regional peace and stability.

As Biden prepares for his State of the Union address, the administration's strategies toward achieving a temporary ceasefire and facilitating humanitarian relief in Gaza will be closely scrutinized, marking a pivotal moment in U.S.-Israel relations and the broader quest for peace in the Middle East.

Sources: X; TheNewYorkTimes; Reuters

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