Monday, 5 Jun 2023 - 16 of Sivan, 5783

U.S. President urges Netanyahu to ‘walk away’ from judicial reform

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Biden also said “no” when askd by reporters whether he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, adding: “Not in the near term.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “walk away” from his current judicial overhaul legislation, saying he was “very concerned” about the health of Israeli democracy.’’

He also warned 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 responded to reporters who asked him about the well-being of Israeli democracy and Netanyahu’s bid to constrain the judiciary.

“They cannot continue down this road. And I’ve sort of made that clear,” he added

“Hopefully the prime minister will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen,” the president said.

Asked by Reuters’ White House correspondent what he wanted Netanyahu to do regarding the judicial reform, the president replied: “I hope he walks away from it.”

Biden also said “no” when askd whether he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, adding: “Not in the near term.”

But earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tome Nides told Israel’s Army radio that Netanyahu will be invited to the White House “as soon as their schedules can be coordinated,” after the Prime Minister announced that he was suspending the  government’s judicial overhaul plan.

“I’m sure he’ll be coming relatively soon,” Nides said. “I assume after Passover, obviously no date has been set yet. There’s no question he will come and meet US President Joe Biden. They will see each other personally, I’m sure, quite soon. Without question, he’ll be coming to the White House as soon as their schedules can be coordinated.”

Netanyahu responded with thje following statement issued by his office:

“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.

My administration is committed to strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government, which we are striving to achieve via a broad consensus.

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.”

The Biden administration praised Netanyahu’s announcement of a suspension of the reform, which followed a day of nationwide strikes and protests. The worker walkout grounded flights at Ben-Gurion Airport and caused major disruptions across Israeli society.

“We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing. “A compromise is precisely what we have been calling for.”

She added, “Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support.”


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