Joe Biden Speaks With Benjamin Netanyahu As Israel Opposes Palestinian Statehood

Biden Speaks With Netanyahu As Israel Opposes Palestinian Statehood

Democrat Biden and right-winger Netanyahu have had a notoriously complicated relationship.


US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about Gaza Friday, in their first conversation for nearly a month amid reports of tensions between the leaders.

The call came a day after Netanyahu said he had told Washington that he opposes allowing Palestinian statehood after the conflict with Hamas, putting him at odds with long-standing US policy.

“President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to discuss the latest developments in Israel and Gaza. A readout of the call will be issued soon,” the White House said in a statement.

The pair last spoke on December 23 and the silence since has led to repeated questions about a rift between Biden and Netanyahu over Israel’s offensive in Gaza and future plans.

Democrat Biden and right-winger Netanyahu have had a notoriously complicated relationship in the past but the US president has stood firmly behind Israel since Hamas’s October 7 attacks on the country.

But the divide over what comes next for the Palestinians after Israel’s response to the attacks has been on sharp display.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that his country “must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan (River)” and that he had made this clear to Israel’s “American friends”.

“This is a necessary condition, and it conflicts with the idea of (Palestinian) sovereignty,” Netanyahu said in public remarks.

Washington stressed in return that it believes creation of a Palestinian state is the only way to guarantee Israel’s long-term security.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that Washington and Israel “obviously see it differently.”

One day earlier at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed his call for a “pathway to a Palestinian state.”

“You’re not going to get the genuine security you need absent that,” he said.

During a trip to the Middle East last week, Blinken emphasized to Israeli authorities that Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, were committed to helping reconstruct Gaza and aiding with future Palestinian governance, but only on the condition that Israel clear the path for Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu maintained Thursday that “a prime minister in Israel should be able to say no, even to our best friends — to say no when necessary, and to say yes if possible.”

US officials have publicly rejected reports of a rift between Biden and Netanyahu when asked about the lack of communication between them in recent weeks.

“These are two guys that have known each other for a long, long time — they don’t agree on every issue and you wouldn’t expect them to,” the White House’s Kirby said earlier this month.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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