TEL AVIV — After openly criticizing the Netanyahu government and refusing to invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House, the Biden administration is now seemingly trying to calm down bilateral tensions.
Barely 24 hours before the expected Tuesday White House meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, President Joe Biden made a call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Slow-moving contacts regarding the planned phone call had been underway for a while. A source familiar with these contacts told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Ultimately, the White House realized that meeting Herzog without even talking to Netanyahu was a bit over the top. They understood that the depth of such humiliation could drive Netanyahu to adopt even more dangerous, radical positions.”
Biden’s July 17 phone call was thus designed to ease the pressure that had been building up in the relationship since Netanyahu took office over six months ago, with its most glaring manifestation being Biden’s blatant refusal to invite the Israeli leader to the White House as a sign of displeasure with the judicial overhaul campaign being led by his government to weaken the country’s courts.