Biden no longer on speaking terms with Netanyahu – report

President Biden reportedly hung up on Netanyahu a month ago, saying ‘This conversation is over.’

By World Israel News Staff

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have not spoken in over a month, according to a new report, after a tense phone call ended with Biden hanging up abruptly on the Israeli premier.

Four U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the issue told Axios this week that tensions are mounting between the Biden administration and the Prime Minister’s Office, leading to a break down between the president and prime minister.

While the two spoke at regular intervals following the October 7th invasion of southwestern Israel, the Biden administration’s growing demands of Israel – including to scale down its operation in Gaza and to agree to hand over the coastal enclave to a reformed Palestinian Authority after the war’s end – coupled with Netanyahu’s refusal to agree to the American proposals have chilled relations between Washington and Jerusalem.

According to the Axios report, Biden and Netanyahu have not spoken directly since a tense December 23rd phone call – a dramatic shift after the two spoke almost every other day during the first 60 days of the war.

Their last call ended abruptly when the president said “This conversation is over,” and hung up on the prime minister.

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Netanyahu, the report said, had just refused Biden’s demand that Israel transfer tax funds withheld from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel collects taxes on  behalf of the PA from Palestinian Arab workers employed in Israel.

Since the October 7th invasion, however, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has withheld the tax funds, under Israel’s “Pay-to-Slay” law, which requires the government to deduct funds used by the PA to pay for stipends to jailed terrorists and their families from the tax transfers.

“There is immense frustration,” one U.S. official cited by the report said of tensions between Biden and Netanyahu.

While Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel during his Mideast trip last week, one U.S. official said the meetings with Israeli leaders actually exacerbated tensions.

Blinken was quoted as chastising Netanyahu and his war cabinet during a closed door meeting last week, calling their plans for a post-war Gaza “pie in the sky.”

Netanyahu is “more willing to listen to” his conservative ministers – including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich than “what the president of the United States says,” Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said.