cease-fire puts Netanyahu at a crossroads that could shape his legacy

Biden tells Netanyahu Israel must protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden has placed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a crossroads, with either path likely to shape the legacy of Israel’s longest-serving and deeply divisive leader.

The proposal offers the possibility of ending Israel’s war against Hamas, returning scores of hostages held by the Islamic militant group, quieting the northern border with Lebanon and potentially advancing a historic agreement to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia.

But it would also likely shatter Netanyahu’s governing coalition, potentially sending him into the opposition and making him more vulnerable to a conviction in his corruption trial. The full withdrawal of Israeli forces called for in the agreement could allow Hamas to claim victory and reconstitute itself.

Netanyahu’s rejection of the deal, on the other hand, could deepen Israel’s international isolation, worsen ties with an American administration eager to wind down the war and expose him to accusations of having abandoned the hostages to save his own skin.

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