LONDON - Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing growing pressure at home and internationally to support a new ceasefire plan for Gaza, a move he is resisting over fears it will collapse his government, according to the London-based Guardian.

Far-right members of the prime minister’s coalition have threatened to quit the coalition if Israel “surrenders” before “total victory” over Hamas, while his leading rival, the centrist Benny Gantz, has said he will resign from the emergency unity government if Netanyahu does not commit to a deal and “day after” plan for Gaza by 8 June.

Staying in office is Netanyahu’s best chance of evading prosecution for corruption on charges he denies. But the longtime leader was forced into a corner on Friday, when Joe Biden unveiled a new truce and hostage release plan, which he said was an Israeli proposal.

In the unexpected announcement, Biden urged Hamas to come to the table – but the speech, which was not coordinated in advance with Israeli officials, is widely believed to have been aimed at reluctant elements of the Israeli leadership, too.

Netanyahu almost immediately undermined the US president, on Saturday calling the plan a “non-starter”. He has since begrudgingly acknowledged the new proposal, which has been relayed to Hamas, but also reportedly reassured his political partners that “the war would not end and the chances of reaching a deal were very low”.

After several failed rounds of talks, a second ceasefire following a week-long truce that collapsed in November is still far from certain. Qatar, a mediator, said on Tuesday that it was still waiting for a “clear position” from Israel, while a Hamas spokesperson said the group could not agree to a deal in which Israel did not commit to a permanent ceasefire and complete withdrawal from Gaza.

“We haven’t seen any statements on both sides that give us a lot of confidence,” said the Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari, who also noted that “the process is progressing and we have been working with both sides on proposals on the table”.

But there is a growing sense in Israel – not for the first time – that Netanyahu is running out of options.

“He is world champion at stalling, making all sides sick of him and ultimately evading paying the bill when it comes due,” the commentator Ben Caspit wrote in the centrist Israeli daily Ma’ariv on Tuesday. But even a political master such as Netanyahu couldn’t hold off much longer on making a decision on a deal, Caspit said. “He has to make a real decision. Not a sort-of decision, not a pretend decision, not an on-condition decision and not a temporary decision. A decision.”

During Saturday night’s now-weekly protest in Tel Aviv led by the families of hostages held by Hamas, thousands of people called on the government to act on the new proposal, as well as for new elections.

On Tuesday, the Shas party, Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partner, came out in favour of the deal, adding to pressure from the leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid, who has promised that his centrist party will help a deal pass in the Knesset even if rightwing government factions rebel.

And after months of increasing international isolation and souring relations with the US, Israel’s most important ally, Biden has for the first time appeared to accuse the Israeli leader of prolonging the war effort in Gaza for his own political survival. Asked in an interview with Time magazine, published on Tuesday, whether the Israeli leader was stalling for political reasons, Biden said: “There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion.”

An editorial in the leftwing daily Haaretz on Tuesday speculated that the prime minister, faced with nothing but unpalatable choices, could play a card he has used several times in the recent past: dissolving parliament and taking his chances in new elections.

As head of a transition government, he could go ahead with the hostage and ceasefire deal without the fear of losing his far-right partners’ support. Getting back in Washington’s good books would reopen the pathway to a potential legacy-defining normalisation deal with Saudi Arabia. It would also delay decisions on another politically explosive issue dividing Netanyahu’s current coalition: ultra-Orthodox conscription.

If, as expected, elections are held sooner than the scheduled date of 2026, it is not impossible that Netanyahu could again cobble together a coalition.

The prime minister has recovered in the polls since 7 October. One survey, conducted a few weeks afterwards, found just 4% of Israel’s Jewish public trusted him. Most polling shows that while the majority of Israelis support the war effort, they also blame him for security failures during the Hamas attack. However, new survey data released this week by Israel’s public broadcaster found the gap with Gantz, his centrist rival, is closing, with Netanyahu now eight points behind.

“Bibi knows he will face elections at some point in the near future, so maybe he will calculate it’s better for him to be in control of the process so he can create the best possible conditions and situation for himself going into an election,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a Tel Aviv-based political analyst, using Netanyahu’s well-known moniker.

A Ramadan ceasefire that Biden said was “very close” did not materialise, and some progress towards a new truce last month was scuppered by the launch of Israel’s invasion of Rafah, the last pocket of Gaza to have been spared ground fighting.

There is one substantial difference between the new plan and previous proposals. The first phase, a six-week ceasefire in which a limited number of Israeli hostages would be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, would be indefinitely extendable while negotiators thrash out the next stage, so an impasse would not necessarily trigger a return to hostilities.