‘Madness’: Netanyahu’s handling of US relations under scrutiny after UN vote

Tone in parts of Israeli media borders on contempt, as prime minister’s growing friction with Biden linked to US abstention.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of relations with the Biden administration, which led the US on Monday to decline to veto a ceasefire resolution at the UN security council, has been greeted by sharp criticism by Israeli commentators. After the US veto, prominent columnists across the Israeli media condemned Netanyahu’s growing friction with the US president, Joe Biden.

While Netanyahu, who has faced plummeting public approval ratings since Hamas’s surprise 7 October attack on southern Israel, has long been a target for a large section of Israel’s commentariat, the tone in some quarters following the rare US abstention in the security council bordered on derision and contempt. Driving the sentiment is the vivid awareness within Israeli society of the huge importance of the US-Israeli relationship in terms of financial aid, arms sales and Washington’s diplomatic support, including its frequently used veto on Israel’s behalf on the security council.

Washington’s decision not to use its veto came after a weekend in which US officials say they spoke non-stop to Israeli counterparts warning them in advance, suggesting that Netanyahu’s decision to cancel a visit by a US delegation in the aftermath of the vote was more calculated theatre than the result of surprise In the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma’ariv, Ben Caspit described the approach of the Israeli prime minister as “delusional”, “madness” and “terrifying”, adding: “This man is putting us all at risk: our future, our children’s future, the strategic alliance that is the keystone of Israeli national security.”

Equally, damning was the lead editorial in the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which described Netanyahu as “Israel’s agent of destruction” who “has become a burden for Israel” “He is exposing it to strategic risks that could exact a very heavy price. For the sake of his own political survival, he is wilfully harming Israel’s citizens. He must resign and give Israel a chance to rescue itself from the damage he has caused. The centre-right Yedioth Ahronoth was no less scathing, featuring a cartoon of a diminutive Netanyahu arm wrestling a much larger Biden, in which Netanyahu’s fist barely encircles Biden’s finger.


Article URL : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/26/benjamin-netanyahu-handling-us-relations-un-israel-gaza-ceasefire-vote