Netanyahu’s leadership ‘in jeopardy,’ US intelligence report says

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hold on office “may be in jeopardy,” a new US intelligence assessment has said, adding that Israel may fail to eliminate Hamas, the main goal behind the Gaza war.

The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment report, released on Monday, expressed concerns about Israel’s vision for the end of the war and raised doubts about whether Netanyahu could stay in power with a halted hostage deal and mounting pressure from Israelis to secure their release.

“Distrust of Netanyahu’s ability to rule has deepened and broadened across the public from its already high levels before the war, and we expect large protests demanding his resignation and new elections,” the report said.

“A different, more moderate government is a possibility.”

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The report predicted that Israel would struggle to achieve its goal of “destroying Hamas.”

“Israel probably will face lingering armed resistance from Hamas for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralize Hamas’s underground infrastructure, which allows insurgents to hide, regain strength and surprise Israeli forces,” the report said.

The governance and security structures in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, as well as the resolution of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and rebuilding, “will be key components of the long-term Israeli-Palestinian relationship,” according to the report.

Tensions between US President Biden and Netanyahu have flared in recent days over Israel’s military operation in Rafah in southern Gaza.

On Saturday, Biden said Netanyahu “must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequences of the actions taken” in Gaza and that Tel Aviv’s approach in the war was “hurting Israel more than helping Israel.

The following day, Netanyahu rejected Biden’s comments saying that he is “wrong on both counts.”

“If he meant by that that I’m pursuing private policies against the majority, the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he’s wrong on both counts,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Politico.

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The Biden administration has fully supported Israel in its war with Hamas, but the United States frustration is growing increasingly visible.

Netanyahu is also facing increasing pressure in Israel as his failure to bring home hostages held by Hamas has led to protests in the country and calls for an early election.

An opinion poll from Israeli Democracy Institute showed Netanyahu’s popularity has plummeted, with only 15 percent of Israelis wanting him to stay in power.

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