“Does the administration still consider the Saudis and the Israelis important allies?” a reporter asked.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
The Biden administration will wait for policy processes to “see themselves through” before declaring whether Israel remains an important ally, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing on Friday.
“Can you please just give us a broad sense of what the administration is trying to achieve in the Middle East?” asked a reporter. “For example, does the administration still consider the Saudis and the Israelis important allies?”
Psaki failed to answer the question, saying, “Well, you know, again, I think we — there are ongoing processes and internal interagency processes — one that we, I think, confirmed an interagency meeting just last week — to discuss a range of issues in the Middle East.”
She said, “We’ve only been here three and a half weeks, and I think I’m going to let those policy processes see themselves through before we give, kind of, a complete laydown of what our national security approaches will be to a range of issues.”
The question came after reporters again inquired whether President Joe Biden has any plans to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It marked the third press briefing this month where Psaki has been asked about Biden’s failure to call to the Israeli leader since taking office.
Psaki said, “It is not an intentional dis,” and that, “we have a long and important relationship with Israel.”
“Does he also plan to talk to the Palestinian leadership, to more rebalance that relationship?” another reporter asked.
“To get involved in a Middle East peace process, perhaps?” Psaki asked with a smile.
When the reporter answered in the affirmative, Psaki said, “You know, I don’t have any calls to predict for you or read out. These are all excellent questions. I’ll see if there’s more we can get from our national security team on planned future calls, which I know there’s a great deal of interest in.”
Concerning what a Middle East peace process may look like, Psaki said last month, “The president’s view continues to be that a two-state solution is the only path forward.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Israel have expressed growing concern about Biden’s failure to contact Netanyahu and what it may signal for the future of Israel-U.S. relations.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Friday called the situation “truly disgusting and shameful.”