President Joe Biden is becoming increasingly vexed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Biden’s advice on running the war and making peace with Palestinians is not heeded, according to a new report.
Axios, which cited U.S. officials it did not name, reported Sunday that the two leaders had not spoken since a Dec. 23 call that ended with an inflamed Biden saying, “This conversation is over.”
The fit of pique was triggered by Netanyahu’s refusal to release tax revenue that is supposed to go to the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank.
That’s not the only wedge between Israel and the Biden administration, which wants Israel to make humanitarian aid for Gaza a greater priority. The Biden administration is also pushing for a greater role for the Palestinian Authority in governing postwar Gaza. Israel is rejecting that idea.
The Biden administration is also nervous that Israel will not complete its ground war in Gaza by the end of this month, making it harder for the U.S. to hold off Israel’s critics.
Israel’s move on Gaza came after the Islamic terrorist group Hamas killed about 1,200 people and took many others hostage in an Oct. 7 attack.
Axios quoted one U.S. official as saying, “There is immense frustration,” while another said, “The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president’s patience is running out.”
Democrats in Congress are going public with their frustrations.
“At every juncture, Netanyahu has given Biden the finger. They are pleading with the Netanyahu coalition, but getting slapped in the face over and over again,” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said.
The prospect of deep American involvement worries some commentators, according to The Associated Press.
“It’s a self-defeating policy,” said Brian Finucane, a former State Department policy adviser on military force.
“What may be expedient in terms of short-term domestic politics may not be in the long-term interests of the United States. Particularly if it results in the United States involving itself in further unnecessary wars in the Middle East,” he said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been publicly pushing for a two-state solution.
“From Israel’s perspective, if you can have a future where they’re integrated into the region, relations are normalized with other countries, where they have the necessary assurances, commitments, guarantees for their security — that’s a very attractive pathway,” Blinken said in Cairo last week. “But it’s also clear that that requires a pathway to a Palestinian state. We’ve heard that from every single country in the region.”
Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said the comment was “tone deaf.”
Israelis felt “hurt, insulted, fearful and concerned that this is the way our allies are talking,” Oren said, who noted that Israel will not always do as it is told.
“At the end of the day, there’s a limit, because if [Biden] says stop, we’re not going to stop,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.