In a series of private discussions, President Joe Biden has notably voiced his dissatisfaction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports suggest. Citing information from five individuals privy to these exchanges, NBC News highlights the core of Biden's frustration as stemming from a wish for Israel to reevaluate its military approach in Gaza. Netanyahu is reportedly seen as a substantial barrier to these changes, with Biden allegedly stating that Netanyahu is "giving him hell," a phrase that signifies the intensity of his irritation.
This frustration was further articulated by one source, indicating that Biden feels the situation has reached a critical juncture and is in urgent need of resolution. The strain in relations between the two leaders has been documented previously, with a report from POLITICO in February citing Biden's use of disparaging language when referring to Netanyahu. NBC News adds credibility to these assertions, noting that Biden has resorted to derogatory terms on several occasions when discussing Netanyahu.
Israel is doing everything possible to rescue our hostages (incl. US nationals) & defeat Hamas, and what does Pres. @JoeBiden do? He calls Israeli PM Netanyahu an "asshole", in language not even reserved for America's worst enemies, let alone no.1 ally!https://t.co/ttY5kcdwa7— Arsen Ostrovsky 🎗️ (@Ostrov_A) February 12, 2024
In response to inquiries about Biden's alleged criticisms, a spokesperson for the National Security Council highlighted the enduring nature of the relationship between Biden and Netanyahu. Despite any disagreements, the relationship is described as longstanding and respectful, both in public forums and behind closed doors, signifying a complex yet fundamentally diplomatic bond between the United States and Israel.
Moreover, NBC News reports Biden's informal references to Netanyahu as "this guy" and mentions instances where Biden called him an "asshole," further indicating moments of exasperation. Nevertheless, the National Security Council defends the integrity of their relationship, emphasizing its respectfulness over decades, despite certain policy disagreements.
White House statement: "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this morning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The President reaffirmed our shared goal to see Hamas defeated and to ensure the long-term security of Israel and its people." pic.twitter.com/PBo1Bigp3Z— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) February 11, 2024
Biden's frustration is partly due to Netanyahu's hesitance in altering military tactics in Gaza, amidst reports from the Hamas-run health ministry of over 28,000 casualties due to Israeli actions, and his reluctance towards pursuing a comprehensive peace agreement. Biden recently cautioned Netanyahu against initiating a ground offensive in Rafah without a solid plan for civilian protection, underscoring his concern over the humanitarian implications of military operations.
🇺🇸🇮🇱BIDEN TO NETANYAHU: YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) February 12, 2024
Biden’s frustration with Netanyahu reportedly boiled over in their call about Israel attacking Rafah, with Biden telling Netanyahu his refusal to accept a ceasefire was “killing him.”
Netanyahu is seen as the main obstacle to any peace… https://t.co/RQju949fUI pic.twitter.com/V8hgLMW8rw
Despite Biden's criticism of Israel's intense military actions in Gaza as "over the top," he has shown a reluctance to publicly reprimand Netanyahu. This restraint underscores a complex dynamic, where personal frustrations have yet to precipitate a significant shift in U.S. policy towards Israel. However, the Biden administration is reportedly beginning to explore potential policy adjustments, reflecting a nuanced stance that seeks to balance diplomatic relations with the pressing need for humanitarian considerations and long-term peace solutions.