Netanyahu, Israeli officials take a swing at the US over Biden remarks
The Israeli occupation Prime Minister and his ministers respond to the US President's remarks on the judicial overhaul legislation.
Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday responded to US President Joe Biden's remarks on the government's judicial overhaul plan, claiming that "Israel" does not take decisions "based on pressures from abroad."
"I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us," Netanyahu tweeted.
I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us— Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 28, 2023
The occupation Prime Minister claimed that "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."
Biden urges Netanyahu to 'walk away' from judicial overhaul
On Tuesday night, Biden urged Netanyahu to "walk away" from the judicial overhaul legislation, warning that "Israel" "cannot continue down this road."
"Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned. And I’m concerned that they get this straight," Biden told reporters before he boarded Air Force One at the Raleigh-Durham airport.
"They cannot continue down this road. And I’ve sort of made that clear," the US President pointed out.
Biden: "Like many strong supporters of Israel I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that they get this straight. They cannot continue down this road. Netanyahu won't be invited to the White House in the near term" pic.twitter.com/YeuH6QbT3c— Yosef Yisrael (@yosefyisrael25) March 28, 2023
"Hopefully the prime minister [Netanyau] will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen," Biden said.
When asked whether he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, the US President said, "Not in the near term."
He also noted that he had not spoken to Netanyahu by phone "in the middle of all this" -- in reference to mass protests against the Israeli government -- adding, "I delivered a message through our ambassador."
Landing back in Washington, DC, when Biden was asked by Reuters’ White House correspondent what he wanted from Netanyahu, the US President said, "I hope he walks away from it."
'Israel' not another star on US flag: Ben-Gvir responds to Biden
On his part, Israeli occupation Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir claimed that the United States needs to understand that "Israel" is "an independent country" and "not another star on the US flag."
Speaking to the Israeli Army Radio, Ben-Gvir said that while "Israel" appreciates the democratic regime in the US, "it is precisely for this region that they need to understand that Israel is an independent country and no longer a star on the US flag."
The occupation Police Minister added that "it should be clear all over the world - the people here went to elections and they have their own desires."
It is noteworthy that Netanyahu on Monday decided to suspend his cabinet's plans to reform the judiciary amid widespread protests against his government and his decision to dismiss Security Minister Yoav Gallant, though he stressed that "we will never give it up."
The Israeli KAN public broadcaster reported that Ben-Gvir told Netanyahu earlier in the day that he would "resign from the government if the legislation is postponed" and that he would continue pushing for the judicial overhaul from outside the PM's coalition.
Read more: Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir reach deal on judicial reform postponement
'Biden has fallen for all the fake news'
In the same context, other members of the Israeli Knesset also criticized Biden's remarks, such as Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miki Zohar, who tweeted: "It's sad that Biden has fallen for all the fake news."
He later deleted the tweet and posted another one saying, "Out of respect for our important relationship with our greatest ally, the United States, I have deleted the tweet."
"It breaks my heart to see how much damage has been done to Israel from all the fake news that has been spread in connection to our justified legal reform," Zohar added.
Israeli opposition blames Netanyahu's government
On the other hand, Israeli opposition leaders blamed Netanyahu's government for the US President's statements, with former Israeli occupation Prime Minister Yair Lapid saying that "for decades, Israel was the USA's closest ally, and the most extremist government in the country's history has spoiled that in three months."
Former Israeli occupation Security Minister and National Unity Party chair Benny Gantz considered Biden's remarks "an urgent wake-up call for the Israeli government."
"Damaging relations with the USA, our best friend and most important ally is a strategic attack," Gantz pointed out.
Amid mass protests witnessed in "Israel" against the Netanyahu government's postponed judicial overhaul that would undermine the power of the Israeli Supreme Court, the White House underlined on Sunday that the US is deeply concerned by events in "Israel" and "strongly urges" Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible.
Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked Security Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday. This prompted Israeli officials to condemn the step.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 27, 2023
According to Israeli media, former officials in the Israeli security establishment said that Gallatn's dismissal is "a big… pic.twitter.com/W8nXRmpzuO
"We continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible. We believe that is the best path forward for Israel," White House National Security Council Spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said in a statement.
In the same context, Israeli media cited senior officials in the US administration as saying that they are very concerned about the situation in "Israel" and Gallant's dismissal.
Read more: US involvement in sparking Israeli protests 'false': State Dept.
'No less than a diplomatic attack'
Yedioth Ahronoth reported that in "Israel" they were very surprised by Biden's words, considering that it was the most dangerous statement on the part of the US administration regarding judicial reforms.
The newspaper cited a senior political source as saying that Biden's statement is nothing less than a "diplomatic attack" or a "resounding slap".
According to the source, Biden's remarks reflect Washington's anger and frustration with Netanyahu and his government and indicate that the Americans do not believe that pausing the legislation is sufficient.
The source added that Biden wants to make clear that the crisis in "Israel" has not really ended.
Elsewhere, the source considered that Biden's strong announcement that Netanyahu will not be invited soon to Washington is the most severe for "Israel" and aims to pass a message to the government.