The tension in the relations between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not ease due to Netanyahu’s attitude towards the war in Gaza. Thus, Biden allegedly called the leader of an allied country an “asshole” three times, according to NBC today, referring to three people who heard it.
Since the Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian Hamas on southern Israel and the start of the Gaza war, Biden has sought to persuade Israel to change its military strategy, but Netanyahu has vowed to wage war until Israel “achieves total victory” and “destroys Hamas.”
In private conversations, according to a report by the American TV network NBC, Biden’s statements were less diplomatic and he spoke frankly, which surprised many people familiar with the situation.
“He just feels enough is enough that it (in Gaza) has to stop,” one of the people said of Biden’s views.
Biden also said Netanyahu was “giving him hell” and was impossible to deal with, people with knowledge of Biden’s statements said. Last week, Politico reported that Biden called the Israeli prime minister a “bad f*cking guy,” according to several unnamed sources who spoke to the president.
Biden’s spokesman, Andrew Bates, later stated that “the president did not say that, nor would he say that.”
When asked about Biden’s private statements about Netanyahu, a spokesman for the National Security Council denied that relations were in crisis, Israeli media reported. “It has been a respectful friendship in public and private for decades, but the president has made it clear where he disagrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” the spokesman said.
Relations have frayed even earlier, during Netanyahu’s attempt to reform the judicial system in Israel, when Biden sought to pressure the Israeli prime minister to delay the plan, which caused deep discontent not only in Israel, but also demonstrations there.
After several harsh statements, Biden announced in March of last year that he would not be inviting Netanyahu to the White House anytime soon.
After the attack on the south of Israel on October 7, the American president immediately expressed his solidarity with Israel from the bottom of his heart and announced his support, labeling the actions of Hamas as “pure unadulterated evil”. Less than two weeks after the attack, he traveled to Israel to meet with Netanyahu and the families of hostages taken to Gaza, which was welcomed by Israelis and Jews in the diaspora.
In the continuation of the military offensive, with the increase in the number of Palestinian victims in Gaza and under the increasing threat of a humanitarian crisis, Biden visibly changed his tone.
The publication of Biden’s private statements along with public warnings against the planned Israeli military offensive in the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, where more than a million displaced Palestinians have taken refuge from the conflict, could signal even further deterioration of relations between the two leaders, Israeli media commented.
Last week, Biden said Israel’s military campaign was “excessive” and told Netanyahu as much in a phone call. The White House said the US president told the Israeli prime minister that the military operation in Rafah should not continue “unless there is a credible and workable plan” to protect Palestinians who have tried to flee the war there, Beta news agency writes.