As Handling of War Pushes U.S. Away, Netanyahu’s Half-Steps May Not Be Enough to Fix Ties

After the relationship between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to reach a new low last week, signs have emerged that both sides want to patch things up, at least for the time being.

After taking on Biden’s criticism directly for weeks, Netanyahu dramatically canceled a visit — requested by Biden — of his top aides to Washington to discuss American ideas for an alternative to a major ground operation in Rafah and for an increase in humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians.

The move was a very public protest of the Biden administration’s decision to forgo the use of its UN Security Council veto and allow the adoption of a resolution calling for an immediate Gaza ceasefire unconditioned on a hostage release, which it also called for.

But the cancellation turned out to be just a modest postponement. Only two days later, the White House announced that Netanyahu had agreed to reschedule the trip by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

The next day, President Isaac Herzog also showed a desire to help the sides move beyond the contretemps. He told a group of visiting Democratic members of Congress that US President Joe Biden is “a great friend of Israel.”