US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to each other this Friday for the first time in almost a month, as their differences appear to be increasingly becoming public. The call, in which the tenant of the White House reiterated the need to establish a future Palestinian state, came after the Israeli leader clearly rejected that perspective, the cornerstone on which Washington bases its proposals for the day after the war in Gaza had . But in statements during a meeting with mayors, Biden assured that Netanyahu was not against “all” Palestinian state models. “I believe that we will find a solution,” he affirmed, explaining that it is “not” impossible to achieve the two-state solution as long as the current Israeli prime minister is in power.
The approximately 40-minute telephone conversation was the first since December 23, when the dialogue between the two heads of state and government was so unconstructive that Biden ended up hanging up the phone on his interlocutor, as the American news portal Axios reported. This time, according to the White House, more diplomatic courses were needed to discuss the recent events in Israel and Gaza.
The two discussed steps taken publicly and behind the scenes to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and other Palestinian groups since the radical militia's attack on Israel on October 7, according to the spokesman National Security Council member John Kirby at the daily press briefing at the White House. They also discussed “a transition to millimeter operations that will allow further humanitarian assistance to flow into Gaza while maintaining significant military pressure on Hamas and its leaders,” and Biden congratulated Netanyahu on Israel's decision to allow arrival by sea enable flour deliveries, the spokesman stated.
Much of the conversation was devoted to what has become one of the major stumbling blocks in the relations between the two governments, which seemed indestructible at the beginning of the conflict: the future after the war and the need for a solution, the Israeli and the Palestinian . Biden “also addressed his vision of more lasting peace and security for a fully integrated Israel in the region.”
Tensions between the two allied countries have been particularly evident since Secretary of State Antony Blinken's trip to the Middle East earlier this month, his fourth trip to the region since the current war in Gaza began in October. In a visit aimed at preventing the conflict from spreading to other parts of the region and preparing for the day after the war, the head of American diplomacy proposed to the Israeli authorities a plan that would involve Saudi Arabia and other countries Arabs would help rebuild the Gaza Strip, and Riyadh would agree to normalize relations with Israel in return for steps toward establishing a Palestinian state that would coexist in peace with Israel.
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On Thursday, Netanyahu categorically rejected this possibility. “In any future agreement, Israel must control the security of all territory west of the Jordan,” the prime minister said.
Despite Netanyahu's rejection, Biden “continues to believe in the promise and possibility of a two-state solution.” He realizes it will take a lot of work. This requires great leadership in the region, particularly on both sides of the issue. “But the United States remains committed to achieving this outcome going forward,” emphasized John Kirby.
The two leaders also discussed Israel's payment of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and “recent progress in ensuring that the Palestinian authorities are available to pay salaries, including those of Palestinian security forces.” Kirby explained. “President Biden also addressed Israel's responsibility to reduce harm to civilians and protect innocents while maintaining military pressure on Hamas,” the spokesman added.
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