Ex-Israel Prime Minister Warns U.S. Support For War Effort Could Run Out In Weeks

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is warning that Israel is running out of time before its allies, most notably the U.S., sour on its war effort against the Hamas militant group.

In an interview with Politico published Monday, Barak said while the Biden administration cannot dictate Israel on how to move forward following the brutal and unprecedented Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, Israel won’t be able to ignore calls for more restraint as the Palestinian civilian death toll continues to rise in Gaza.

Gaza’s health ministry on Monday said over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict started, including over 4,000 minors.

“You can see the window is closing,” Barak said. “It’s clear we are heading towards friction with the Americans about the offensive.”

Barak added that Western governments are increasingly concerned over the possibility of the war spreading into a wider conflict in the Middle East, and also worried about the fate of their kidnapped citizens that remain in Hamas’ custody.

“We are losing public opinion in Europe and in a week or two we’ll start to lose governments in Europe,” he said. “And after another week the friction with the Americans will emerge to the surface.”

While the U.S. has so far refused to join calls for a cease-fire, it has been pushing for a humanitarian pause, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying “we need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians” during his latest visit to Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News Monday a cease-fire will only be possible once Hamas releases all hostages, but did not rule out small pauses to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

“As far as tactical little pauses, an hour here, an hour there, we’ve had them before, I suppose, we’ll check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages to leave,” he said.

Despite the challenges of Israel’s military operation, Barak said it was necessary for Israel to mount a strong response to the Oct. 7 massacre that killed over 1,400 Israelis to ensure that it never happens again.

As questions remain about what the future holds for Gaza once the war is over, Barak downplayed the possibility of a two-state solution given the deep distrust on both sides. But he said a multinational Arab coalition with the support of the U.N. Security Council could be put together to oversee Gaza for a few months, before handing control over to the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu, however, said his country “for an indefinite period will have the overall security responsibility” of Gaza, without including any further details about what that would look like.

“When we don’t have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine,” Netanyahu added.

You can read the whole Politico story here.