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Biden's Israel-Hamas cease-fire plan is trouble for Netanyahu

Biden's Israel-Hamas cease-fire plan is trouble for Netanyahu
Israel-Hamas: Biden's cease-fire plan creates dilemma for Netanyahu | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take on the Middle East.

Latest on is there or is there not a deal that can get done between Hamas and the Israelis, at least creating a short-term cease-fire? The United States has been relentlessly pushing this, in part because Biden has lost a lot of support domestically as the wars continued.

And, of course, because around the world, pretty much every other country wants to see this war over. But easier said than done when you're talking with an Israeli government that overwhelmingly wants to destroy Hamas, whatever exactly that means before they end it. And Hamas, that intends to continue lobbing rockets at the Israelis and is continuing to hold a large number of hostages. A near-term agreement, for at least a temporary cease-fire and hostages being released, has been done once and could be done again.

That's been discussed continuously over the past several months. The details have been challenging in how many hostages would be released and how many are still alive or in a position that Hamas would be able to give them back to the Israelis. But there's a big question about what happens then, and Biden's announcement that there was an Israeli deal that was agreed to that would eventually lead to a permanent cease-fire is not exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. I mean, the same text has been agreed to, but the way it's being presented internationally and to domestic audiences is very, very different. The United States thinks that there's utility, therefore, in being ambiguous about the actual text and about what happens and how one gets to a permanent cease-fire, but that's not acceptable to the Israeli prime minister, who loses his support domestically and his far-right allies if he does that.

Also, he wants Hamas to say no, he wants them to be responsible for the Israelis continuing to fight. And he's become more popular with the Israeli population over the past weeks as he's taken that position. The issue is that, you know, you can have six weeks in response for lots of the hostages being released, but the Israeli position and this is broader than just the prime minister, is that they are not yet done taking out Hamas, that there are thousands of fighters that continue to exist on the ground. And until they destroy their ability to mobilize and attack, they're going to continue. The Biden position is that Hamas is no longer capable of organizing an October 7th-style attack, and that should be sufficient. That is absolutely not the Israeli position. And that's why we don't yet have a deal that Hamas is likely to accept for the long term.

So, you know, all of this is to say that over the coming weeks, there's lots of effort to try to get Hamas to come to yes, but will Hamas say yes? And are they credible if there is every intention of the Israelis to continue to destroy the organization they're negotiating with? And, look, it's hard to negotiate with terrorist organizations in the best of times. This is very far from the best of times. So I would still be reasonably willing to bet that the deal is not going to happen. And if it does, it is only short term; in other words, we are not at the precipice of maybe a sustainable cease-fire that would lead to governance in the region among the Palestinians.

Having said all of that, Bibi himself is under a lot more pressure. Benny Gantz, member of the War Cabinet, a three-man War Cabinet, is willing to leave, gives him an ultimatum to the Prime Minister if there isn't some plan for what to do with Palestinian governance after the war is over.

And Netanyahu has been kicking the can on this, just like he's been kicking the can on under what conditions the war in Rafah will be over. Meanwhile, the Israeli far right has said that the deal as it stands is unacceptable and they are out if the government accepts it. Now, the center opposition Lapid has said that he would support Netanyahu if he loses his government.

But is the Israeli prime minister willing to do that, willing to accept what's going to be a much weaker governance position for him and his country going forward? Probably not. Also, he sees that his support is more likely to come from a Trump presidency, even though Trump doesn't like the Israeli prime minister personally, than it would from Biden. You got $100 million just been given from Miriam Adelson, who was Sheldon's widow, to Trump PAC, and all of that is in support of a far right-wing Israeli political stance. So he certainly understands that giving something to Biden right now is not in his interests. And meanwhile, he has been invited to come and give a speech to a joint session of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, all four running the House and Senate, extended that invitation.

Biden really didn't want that to happen. But since he's no way politically to be able to oppose it in his election process right now. And so more cards are presently being held by the Israeli prime minister than by the American president. That is the reality. And it's one of the reasons why a deal is at this point, in my view, unlikely.

Anyway, complicated stuff. Super challenging in the Middle East, super challenging for the American elections. And I'll talk to you all real soon.


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