Israel Netanyahu challenges Biden: "We are a sovereign country"

US President Joe Biden's statements against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turn the growing tension into a crisis

Israel Netanyahu challenges Biden: "We are a sovereign country"

US President Joe Biden's statements against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turn the growing tension into a crisis. The project of judicial changes, suspended this Monday by Netanyahu as a result of the massive protests in Israel and the pressure of the United States, in addition to the controversial statements of some ministers, the approval of a law to allow access - although not to return to live - in four small settlements evacuated in 2005 and the dismissal of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have exhausted the patience of the Biden Administration. His tone against the sixth Netanyahu government is one of the highest in the history of close bilateral relations.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli leader received the report of his representatives on the first meeting with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog to reach an agreement on the reform. Hours earlier, the US had applauded the decision to freeze the initiative to modify the relationship between the executive and judicial branches while US ambassador Tom Nides hinted that he would be invited to the White House after Passover which begins next week. Nothing presaged the media and diplomatic storm.

"Like many of the great supporters of Israel, I am very concerned. They cannot continue on this path and I made it very clear," Biden declared about the judicial proposal and the social unrest in the last thirteen weeks. He also expressed his wish that Netanyahu act in such a way that he achieves "a genuine compromise. But let us wait and see."

"Ask the White House," they responded a week ago in Netanyahu's entourage about the unusual fact that he did not receive the US invitation despite taking office three months ago. Well, they asked. "Not in the near future," Biden replied sharply and dryly.

Netanyahu was surprised by the substance and the form. Also, unlike the reasons for his clashes with Bill Clinton (conflict with the Palestinians) and Barack Obama (colonies and the Iranian nuclear deal), this is now an internal matter. Biden identifies more with the detractors of judicial reform ("coup against democracy") than with the defenders ("strengthens democracy").

After recalling that he has known Biden for more than 40 years, "appreciating his long commitment to Israel" and noting that the alliance between the two countries "is unbreakable and has always overcome occasional disagreements", Netanyahu responded to the criticism: "Israel is a sovereign country that makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressure from abroad, even if they are the best of friends".

In his party and in his coalition they replied with fewer filters. The minister and ultranationalist leader, Itamar Ben Gvir, declared that "President Biden and other members of the US Administration must understand that Israel is a sovereign country and not just another star on the US flag. When a country is democratic, there are elections and what decides is the popular will. I hope President Biden understands this point."

Culture Minister Miki Zohar (Likud) tweeted that "it is sad that Biden has also fallen victim to the fake news that was spread in Israel against the reform." Soon after, he deleted it "out of respect for our important relationships with our greatest ally the US."

A Likud deputy affirmed that Biden's statement "crossed a red line in the friendship between the two countries" and another used harsh terms towards the US, which surely caused disbelief in the Defense and Foreign Affairs leadership, who know in detail the importance of washington.

Although nothing comparable to the son of Netanyahu who recently accused the Administration under the Democratic Party of financing movements that organize protests in Israel. "Prime Minister Netanyahu is a nuisance to them on the Palestinian and Iranian issues," declared the influential and controversial Yair Netanyahu.

After Biden's telephone conversation with Netanyahu in which he asked him to agree on judicial reform and the summons of the Israeli ambassador to Washington (due to the law on four evacuated Jewish enclaves) for the first time since 2010, US discontent reaches its peak . The trigger has been the dismissal - not yet executed - of the head of Defense. Not only because of the departure of a key minister because of his position in relations and a "moderate" in the ultra-conservative coalition, but because he raised fears in Washington about Netanyahu's decision-making. The US can work with a prime minister who thinks differently about how to avoid a nuclear Iran or reach a deal with the Palestinians. So it was with the previous version of Netanyahu. What he does not accept is that it is unpredictable or that he does not have control of all his government.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project