Biden says he looks forward to working with ‘friend for decades’ Netanyahu

Joe Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu
FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2010 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans. Israelis are expressing growing concern that President Joe Biden has yet to call Netanyahu in the three weeks since his inauguration in Jan. 2021. Some fear that it could forecast a chillier relationship after President Donald Trump’s warm embrace. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) Gerald Herbert/AP

Biden says he looks forward to working with ‘friend for decades’ Netanyahu

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President Joe Biden said he looks forward to working with Israel’s new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but suggested the United States could “oppose” certain policies related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Calling the veteran leader “my friend for decades,” Biden warned in a statement Thursday that Washington “will continue to … oppose policies that endanger [two-state solution] viability or contradict our mutual interests and values.”

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Netanyahu was sworn in for a sixth term as Israel’s prime minister on Thursday at the head of a hard-right Cabinet that has promised to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Biden has said he supports a two-state solution to the conflict and urged a “lasting negotiated peace between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people” during a visit to the Middle East this summer. Biden later invoked his Irish Catholic background to compare Irish Catholics living under British rule to the plight of the Palestinians during a visit to a hospital in East Jerusalem.

In July, the president raised concerns over settlement expansion with Israeli leaders before his visit to the Palestinian territories. Yet Biden has also charged that some Democrats are “wrong” for their position on the conflict.

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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told Netanyahu in October that forming a government with far-right members could harm U.S.-Israel ties, according to Axios.

Asked about the report, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was “confident that no matter who the Israeli people elect, we’re going to be able to work with them,” and noted “an awful lot of shared challenges.”

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