Joe Biden sent ‘clear sign of displeasure’ to Benjamin Netanyahu before Palestine row

Gaza: Building collapses following Israeli airstrikes

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Hostility between Israel and Palestine has seen major escalations in recent days as yet more violence is fuelled on the streets of Jerusalem and airstrikes are exchanged. Tensions in East Jerusalem have risen since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on April 13, with many clashes between Palestinian and Israeli groups, and police. Palestinians accused the police of preventing them from congregating on steps outside Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem near to the Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site in Islam. Police claimed they were trying to control pedestrian flow, but many people were injured as Palestinians were hit with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Increasing violence has now culminated in reciprocated airstrikes as Palestinian militants in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, provoking the country to fire back killing at least 35 people according to Palestinian health officials.

The Israeli military said it had killed more than 15 militants.

Terrorist organisation Hamas launched rocket attacks on the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Two deaths have been reported in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

World leaders are now facing pressure to try and help ease tensions in the Middle East, with US President Joe Biden expected to play a major role.

But his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under the microscope as experts look at how he may approach the Israel-Palestine issue.

Fears of tension between the Mr Netanyahu and President Biden came when the US President took nearly four weeks to call his counterpart in Israel.

In the period before the call was made, Dani Dayan, a former Israel consul-general in New York claimed Mr Biden was sending a “clear sign of displeasure”.

He said: “It’s a clear sign of displeasure from President Biden with the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu was perceived in Washington for the last 12 years as almost a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.”

Mr Netanyahu had a strong relationship with former President Donald Trump, who controversially moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The wait for a phone call led Danny Danon, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations and a member of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party, to send a tweet to the US President.

He said: “Might it now be time to call the leader of Israel, the closest ally of the US?”

Mr Biden did eventually call the Israeli Prime Minister, who said “the conversation was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour.”

The White House insisted the delay was “not a diss” against Israel, and reiterated its support for a strong US-Israel alliance.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “It is not an intentional diss, Prime Minister Netanyahu is someone the President has known for some time. Obviously we have a long and important relationship with Israel.

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“It is just a reflection of the fact that we’ve only been here for three-and-a-half weeks.

“He has not called every single global leader yet.”

During the 2020 election campaign, Mr Biden expressed support for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

His website said: “He will work to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy.

“His policies will be grounded in a commitment to a two-state solution, where Israel and the future viable state of Palestine will live together in peace, security, and mutual recognition.

“Biden opposes any unilateral steps by either side that undermine a two-state solution. He opposes annexation and settlement expansion and will continue to oppose both as President.”

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