A Chill between Israel and the U.S.?

On Monday, a photograph circulated of Naftali Bennett, Joe Biden, and Boris Johnson talking cordially at the climate-change summit in Glasgow—reportedly about their respective political situations. Bennett in fact arranged tête-à-têtes in Scotland not only with Johnson, but also with the leaders of France, Italy, India, Australia, Bahrain, and Honduras. But he had no such meeting with President Biden. While there could be any number of explanations for that, Benny Avni wonders if it reflects festering disagreements between the U.S. and Israel:

Despite Jerusalem’s praise of Mr. Biden’s friendship with the Jewish state, . . . a chill in relations with Washington is clearly in the air this fall. Secretary of State Antony Blinken . . . last week had a “tense” phone call with Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, calling his approval of 2,800 new housing units inside existing Jewish settlements “unacceptable.” The content of the call was immediately leaked to Israeli and American reporters.

Washington had earlier frowned upon Mr. Gantz’s designation as terrorist six Palestinian Arab organizations affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Washington has long recognized the PFLP as a terrorist organization. Yet it insists the six groups are part of Palestinian “civil society” even as evidence of symbiotic ties between them and the terror organization is abundant.

Then there’s the push by the Biden administration to reopen an American consulate in Jerusalem to serve Palestinian Arabs. . . . Most ominously, Bidenites seem giddy for a return to the nuclear deal with Iran. Trying to smooth over disagreements, Biden and Bennett came up with a diplomatic formula most recently repeated by Blinken on the Sunday news shows. The formula reckons that everyone prefers diplomacy while vowing to prepare an unspecified “plan B” if talks collapse. Meantime, fuzzy diplomatic language rarely succeeds in hiding disagreements.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Joseph Biden, Naftali Bennett, US-Israel relations

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7