Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and demanded that the US never “second-guess" him on Hamas again. Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the US and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
According to the Associated Press, the two spoke on the phone Friday amid growing tensions between the US and Israel over the Gaza conflict, that has in the meantime further detirorated after a UN and US backed ceasefire collapsed Friday morning.
Obama and other US officials did not directly blame Hamas for the abduction of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, but they made clear they hold Hamas responsible for the actions of all factions in the Gaza Strip. The language was a distinct change from Thursday when Washington was focused on the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation.
They said Netanyahu made similar points to Kerry, who himself denounced the attack as “outrageous,” saying it was an affront to assurances to respect the cease-fire given to the United States and United Nations, which brokered the truce.
In comments that were positive towards Israel on Friday, President Barack Obama's called on Hamas on Friday to secure the release of a captured Israeli soldier and did not call for an immediate resumption of the ceasefire. "I want to make sure they are listening: If they are serious about trying to resolve that situation that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible."
Speaking at the White House before Congress ended its final session before summer recess, Obama reiterated the position he has held from the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. "I have been very clear throughout this crisis: Israel has a right to defend itself."
The US president stressed that "no country can or would tolerate tunnels being dug under their land that can be used to launch terrorist attacks."
It is unclear whether the phone call conversation between Netanyahu and the US ambassador took place before or after Obama's comments.