Netanyahu Responds to Biden’s Call That He Won’t Invite Netanyahu in Near Future

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with then-Vice President Joe Biden in Yerushalayim in 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

President Joe Biden all but contradicted the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Tuesday, saying he has no plans to invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the White House.

When he was asked by reporters before departing on Air Force One if he’ll invite Netanyahu to Washington, Biden answered, “No, not in the near term.” He added, “Hopefully, the Prime Minister can act in a way that will bring general compromise.”

Biden went on to say that “like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned. I’m concerned that they get this straight. They cannot continue down this road,” referring to the ongoing political and social upheavals in Israel over the planned judicial reform. Biden was asked again upon returning to the White House what he expects Netanyahu to do, and responded, “I hope he walks away from it… I think they’re in a difficult spot to be in and they’ve got to work it out.”

Netanyahu shot back shortly after, saying Israel is a sovereign country that does not make decisions based on pressures from abroad. “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.”

He said his administration was striving to make reforms “via broad consensus,” and added that he “appreciated Biden’s commitment to Israel.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Ambassador Tom Nides said he expected Netanyahu to soon receive a long-awaited invitation to the White House. He told Army Radio, “I believe he will be invited after Pesach.”

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