Kamala Harris and Benny Gantz…a meeting that challenges Netanyahu’s authorities

On Monday, US Vice President Kamala Harris will host Israeli War Council member Benny Gantz, who is visiting Washington in a move that poses a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

meet GantzNetanyahu’s centrist political rival, a number of senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration this week, including HarrisSecretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk, and Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor at the White House, while President Joe Biden is present in Camp Davidthe presidential retreat outside Washington, until Tuesday.

Gantz is also scheduled to meet Monday with Minority Leader V Senate Mitch McConnell.

Gantz met on Sunday with the top US diplomat for Middle East affairs. Barbara Leafand Foreign Ministry Advisor Derek Chollet before his meetings in White Houseaccording to administration officials who were not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

Over the weekend, Harris made a strong call for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, which administration officials say will halt the fighting for at least six weeks, and she also pressed Israel not to obstruct aid that aid workers are trying to get into the area. The White House has been calling for this framework agreement for weeks.

Harris said while she was in Selma, Alabama, on Sunday: “Given the enormous amount of suffering in… Gaza“There must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is currently on the table, which will lead to the release of the hostages and the entry of a significant amount of aid.”

“This will allow us to build something more sustainable to ensure Israel’s security and respect the Palestinian people’s right to dignity, freedom, and self-determination,” Harris continued.

While Harris painted a bleak picture of children suffering from malnutrition and death in Gaza, she stressed the need for the Israeli government to make more efforts to increase the flow of aid.

“There are no excuses,” Harris added. “Israel must open new border crossings, not impose ‘unnecessary restrictions’ on aid delivery, protect humanitarian workers and convoys from becoming targets, and work to restore basic services and strengthen the system so more can arrive.” Of food, water and fuel to those in need.

Israel has agreed to the deal in principle, according to a senior Biden administration official, and the White House stressed that the responsibility falls on Hamas to complete the agreement.

Netanyahu and Gantz dispute

For his part, an official in the far-right Likud Party, led by Netanyahu, said that Gantz did not obtain the Prime Minister’s approval for his meetings in Washington.

He added that Netanyahu had harsh words for Gantz, which highlights the widening dispute within the Israeli leadership nearly 6 months after the start of the war.

Gantz, who polls show would have enough support to take over as prime minister if elections were held today, is seen as a political moderate, but remains ambiguous about his view of a Palestinian state. He is a member of the war cabinet and is widely viewed as a moderate force. He is also supposed to leave the government when the intensity of fighting decreases, which would increase pressure to hold early elections.

To date, calls for early elections remain muted due to the war, but analysts believe that when Gantz leaves government, it will send a signal to the Israeli public that the need for national unity is over and that efforts to oust Netanyahu’s government can begin in earnest. .

For his part, Gantz intends to strengthen relations with the United States, support Israel’s war, and press for the release of Israeli hostages, according to another Israeli official.

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