Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016
Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016
Photo: GPO
Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016

In Israel, Biden could differ with Netanyahu on Iran and settlements

While president-elect describes himself as a Zionist and friend to nine Israeli prime ministers, friction could arise between a Biden White House and Netanyahu, who famously feuded with Biden's ex-boss, Barack Obama

Reuters |
Published: 11.07.20 , 20:35
Just two weeks ago, Joe Biden was the butt of a jibe made by U.S. President Donald Trump during a conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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  • "Do you think 'Sleepy Joe' could have made this deal?" Trump asked Netanyahu in a televised phone call with his closest foreign ally about a Middle East peace initiative.
    Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016 Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016
    Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden meeting in 2016
    (Photo: GPO)
    Netanyahu demurred, apparently hedging in case of a Biden victory. It was a wise move: Declared winner of the U.S. presidential election by major television networks on Saturday, Biden is the one laughing now.
    The hawkish prime minister made no immediate comment after the U.S. networks called the election for the former vice president, and footage of Netanyahu and Trump remained at the top of his Facebook page.
    Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page includes video of the prime minister with Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page includes video of the prime minister with Donald Trump
    Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page includes video of the prime minister with Donald Trump
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    Trump, who has made repeated claims of electoral fraud without providing proof, immediately accused Biden of "rushing to falsely pose as the winner."
    Still, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn - a member of Netanyahu's ruling coalition belonging to the centrist Blue & White party - swiftly congratulated Biden.
    "Congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden! Congratulations to Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as vice president and congratulations to the American people on the worthy democratic process," Nissenkorn said in Hebrew on Twitter.
    Opposition leader Yair Lapid also offered his congratulations to the Democrat on Twitter.
    "The relationship between our countries is based on deeply held values and critical shared interests which I know will be at the heart of your administration," Lapid wrote.
    Though Biden describes himself as a Zionist and friend to nine Israeli prime ministers, friction could arise between a Biden White House and Netanyahu, who famously feuded with Biden's ex-boss, Barack Obama.
    In what Israel would likely see as a de-facto third Obama term, Biden has pledged to restore U.S. involvement in the Iran nuclear deal and is likely to voice opposition to Israeli settlement of West Bank land where Palestinians seek statehood.
    Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama at the White House in 2015 Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama at the White House in 2015
    Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama at the White House in 2015
    (Photo: Reuters)
    That promises Netanyahu a policy whiplash after four years of being in lockstep with Trump - deferred, perhaps, by the need to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and U.S. economic woes first.
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