Biden increasingly impatient with Netanyahu, sources say

(CNN)President Joe Biden has become increasingly impatient with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a blunt phone call Wednesday in which the US President set a deadline for violence to ease between Israel and Hamas.

The call, in which Biden made clear he expected a ceasefire soon, was more “direct, frank and candid” than any of their previous conversations since the President took office, according to a senior administration official. And Biden — who has a relationship with Netanyahu that stretches back decades — did not hold back, the official added.
It was the two leaders’ fourth phone call in a week as violence intensified between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. The White House has used progressively more urgent language to describe each conversation, even as officials described a diplomatic effort focused more on behind-the-scenes pressure than public cajoling.
Biden, who’s been viewed as a firm supporter of Israel for his entire political career, has come under pressure from members of his own party to speak out more forcefully against Israel’s actions.
In their conversation early Wednesday, Biden wanted Netanyahu to take his stern warning seriously, given he had quietly waited days to deliver it, several people familiar with the matter said. Part of Biden’s calculus in remaining quiet publicly had been a worry Netanyahu would ignore public demands to de-escalate — a scenario that appeared to play out in the hours after the call.
After the White House said Biden told Netanyahu “he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the Prime Minister emerged from a visit to an Israel Defense Forces command center to proclaim he was “determined to continue this operation.” And on Wednesday, dozens of Israeli warplanes launched a series of airstrikes on several Hamas targets.

David Adams

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