Netanyahu, Biden talk for first time since rift went public

After not speaking for over a month, Israeli prime minister and US president have telephone conversation.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke over the phone Monday evening (Israel time), the first time the two leaders have spoken in over a month.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said Monday that he discussed Israel’s goals in its ongoing war against the Hamas terror organization in Gaza, as well as Israel’s commitment to providing humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians.

“This evening I spoke with US President Joe Biden,” Netanyahu said.

“We discussed the latest developments in the war, including Israel’s commitment to achieving all of the war’s goals: Eliminating Hamas, freeing all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never gain constitutes a threat to Israel – while providing the necessary humanitarian aid that will assist in achieving these goals.”

The White House confirmed the conversation and added that the call focused on the impending Israeli operation in the Gaza border city of Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip, and U.S. concerns regarding the civilian population there.

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“President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to discuss the latest developments in Israel and Gaza, including the situation in Rafah and efforts to surge humanitarian assistance to Gaza,” the White House said.

Monday’s call marks the first time the two have spoken since February 15th. It is also the first conversation Biden and Netanyahu have had since a growing rift between the two went public, starting with Biden being caught on a hot mic after his State of the Union address on March 7th that Netanyahu needs a “come to Jesus moment.”

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer castigated Netanyahu and his government, calling for snap elections and Netanyahu’s ouster, in an address to the Senate which received the backing of the Biden administration.

On Friday, a day after Schumer’s criticism of Netanyahu on the Senate floor, President Biden lauded the top Senate Democrat, calling his excoriation of the Israeli leader “a good speech.”

Netanyahu fired back against Schumer’s comments, declaring Israel is not a “banana republic.”

On Monday, the Israeli premier appeared to refer to the Biden administration and Schumer, when he called attempts to portray his government as an unpopular “fringe” coalition “deliberately false.”

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“The picture that is presented in the last few days and weeks in the United States is completely different from what I described.”

“You can go into any cab, go into a mall, walk down the street and talk to people. The great majority will tell you that they support what I just said, the goals that the government has set.”

 

“That’s not the description you have an outlier prime minister who put some extreme fringe groups, and that’s what’s driving the policy. False. I would say deliberately false. They know it’s false. But that falsehood is perpetrated and it’s wrong.”

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