President Joe Biden is exasperated at his failure to persuade Israel to change its military tactics in the Gaza Strip and sees Benjamin Netanyahu as the main obstacle, and on at least three occasions, in private conversations, he has used the word “dog” when referred to him, several people familiar with the discussions told NBC News, reports News.ro.
Joe Biden and Benjamin NetanyahuPhoto: White House Photo / Alamy / Profimedia Images
Biden has said he is trying to get Israel to agree to a cease-fire, but Netanyahu is “making his life hell” and impossible to deal with, said people familiar with Biden’s claims, who asked not to be identified.
“He thinks enough is enough and he needs to stop,” said one of the people regarding the views expressed by Biden.
In recent weeks, in private, Biden has spoken about Netanyahu, a leader he has known for decades, with a frankness that surprised some who heard his comments, NBC sources said. His comments about relations with Netanyahu are sprinkled with disparaging expressions towards him. He refers to the Israeli prime minister as “this guy,” these people said. And on at least three recent occasions, Biden has called Netanyahu a “dog,” according to three people directly familiar with his comments.
Asked about Biden’s private comments about Netanyahu, a National Security Council spokesman said the two leaders have a respectful relationship. “The president has been clear where he disagrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but this is a decades-long relationship that is respectful in public and in private,” the spokesman said.
But the frankness of Biden’s uncensored comments about Netanyahu, as well as the Israeli prime minister’s refusal to change tactics in Gaza, suggest that the dynamic between the two leaders may be approaching a tipping point.
On Sunday, Biden told Netanyahu, with whom he spoke by phone, that he believed “a military operation in Rafah should not take place without a credible and enforceable plan” to protect and support the Palestinians sheltering there. stated the White House in a statement. Most of their 45-minute conversation focused on a long-discussed but repeatedly delayed deal between Israel and Hamas to release hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a pause in military operations and the release of Palestinian prisoners, according to the House White.
Biden took a much sharper tone on Thursday and described Israel’s military assault on Gaza as “over the top.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also very blunt last week after a meeting with Netanyahu in Israel. Blinken said he told Netanyahu that the number of Palestinian civilians dying every day from Israel’s military operations “remains too high.”
Biden administration officials are discussing delaying or slowing arms sales to Israel
However, people familiar with Biden’s private comments said he told them he believed it would be counterproductive for him to be too tough on Netanyahu publicly. Also, Biden’s frustrations with Netanyahu have not led to a major change in policy, but his administration has begun to consider such options, according to NBC. Two weeks ago, officials told NBC News that the administration was discussing delaying or slowing U.S. arms sales to Israel as leverage to get Netanyahu to scale back Israeli military operations in Gaza and do more to protect civilians.
In another potential policy shift, NBC reported last week that administration officials are developing options for formally recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
However, even as Biden has stepped up his rhetoric, he is not yet ready to make significant policy changes, officials said. He and his advisers continue to believe that his approach of unequivocal support for Israel is the right one.
Some Democrats in Congress have called for conditions on US aid to Israel. Other Democrats, including military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, have questioned Israel’s tactics, arguing that heavy bombing and high civilian casualties are counterproductive methods that threaten to provide even more fuel to extremists.
In some of the darkest moments of recent private conversations, the president reportedly said Netanyahu wanted the war to drag on so he could stay in power, three of the people familiar with his comments said.
At a fundraiser Biden attended in recent weeks, he spoke about Israel and his frustrations with Netanyahu to a small group of donors. “He said that Bibi started off great, but she’s been a nuisance lately. She’s finished me lately,” the president reportedly said, according to a person who was present.