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Netanyahu says Israel not enslaved to US

May 16, 2024 at 10:47 am

Campaigners stage action with Netanyahu riding a US missile ahead of Gaza ceasefire vote in UN Security Council on Tuesday, outside the UN Headquarters, Ralph Bunche Park in New York City, United States on February 20th, 2024. [Selçuk Acar – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly said that Israel is not “enslaved to the United States,” claiming he has pushed back against American pressure in the past, and would do so again, Israel’s Walla news site reported yesterday quoting three informed sources.

According to the sources, Netanyahu’s comments came the day after US President Joe Biden warned against an invasion of Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah where 1.5 million Palestinians have been sheltering, the vast majority after being displaced numerous times from other areas of the enclave.

Tensions escalated between Netanyahu and Biden two weeks ago, after the latter stopped a shipment of arms consisting of 3,500 bombs destined for Tel Aviv.

Walla quoted two Israeli sources as saying that Netanyahu and his closest adviser and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, were surprised by Biden’s decision to stop sending the shipment and the public warning issued to Israel to stop it invading Rafah.

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An American official said Biden and his advisers had warned Netanyahu and Dermer, in the weeks before the shipment was stopped, that such a measure would be taken if Israel continued to push for an invasion of Rafah, according to Walla. But Dermer, who has previously served as ambassador to Washington, told Netanyahu that Biden “would not dare” to take such a step, according to an informed Israeli source.

According to Walla, Netanyahu likened his confrontation with Biden over Rafah to the decision of the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, to announce the establishment of Israel in 1948, despite the opposition of then US Secretary of State, George Marshall.

Netanyahu has also mentioned his speech before Congress in 2015, in which he opposed then US President Barack Obama’s decision to move toward a nuclear agreement with Iran, which led to a deep rift between Tel Aviv and the Obama administration and angered many in the Democratic Party.

One of Netanyahu’s advisers said the latter stressed during the meeting that he had pushed back against American pressure in the past, and would do so again if the need arises.

“When there are matters that pose a threat to our existence, we will do whatever is required,” he said.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is due to visit Israel on Sunday to hold talks about the Rafah invasion, and several days later a senior Israeli delegation will head to Washington to continue the discussions.