Prime Minister Netanyahu's response to Schumer widens rift in US-Israel relations

Netanyahu denounces Schumer’s request for Israeli elections saying “We’re not a banana republic.”

In a forthright and emphatic response to Washington’s criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Sunday that US Senator Chuck Schumer’s calls for elections last week were “wholly inappropriate.”


PM says ‘sister democracy’ should not face calls for leadership change, especially in wartime; asks how world forgot Oct. 7 ‘so quickly,’ slams false claims aimed at ending the war.


In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” he repeated remarks he had made on CNN, saying, “It shouldn’t have been said, it’s wrong.”


“It’s wrong to try to replace the elected leaders of a sister democracy, a staunch American ally, at any time, but especially during a time of war,” Netanyahu said in a statement.


“In my opinion, Schumer said something completely unacceptable. “It’s inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and attempt to replace the elected leadership there,” Netanyahu told. “That’s something the Israeli people do on their own. “We are not a banana republic.


In the interviews, Netanyahu avoided committing to holding elections after the battle with Hamas, calling the topic “ridiculous” to discuss. “That’s for the Israeli people to decide,” he went on to say.


Additionally, he contended that elections held during the conflict would be a win for Hamas as they would put an end to it for six months.


Schumer called for new elections in Israel last Thursday, saying he believed Netanyahu had “lost his way” and was an obstacle to regional peace.


The Biden administration has also expressed their displeasure numerous times. Last week, US sources informed Politico that President Joe Biden would consider putting restrictions on future military aid to Israel if it proceeds with a planned operation against the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.


Biden has also said an IDF entry into Rafah would be a “red line” for his administration, and repeatedly expresses frustration over the civilian death toll in Gaza and the slow distribution of financial aid.



Netanyahu call for Israel election was "totally inappropriate"
Netanyahu call for Israel election was “totally inappropriate”

Responding to Netanyahu’s criticism on Sunday, Schumer said, “It’s a good thing that a serious discussion has now begun about how to ensure Israel’s future security and prosperity once Hamas has been defeated.”


Netanyahu made a more subtle attack on Schumer and Biden during his speech at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, claiming that those who wish to end the conflict do so “by making false accusations against the IDF, against the Israeli government, and against the prime minister of Israel.” They accomplish this by attempting to hold elections while the battle is still ongoing.


With a direct question, Netanyahu turned to Israel’s “friends in the international community” and said, “Is your memory so short? Did you fast forget October 7, the most horrific slaughter against Jews since the Holocaust? Are you willing to dismiss Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ monsters so quickly? “Did you lose your moral conscience so fast?”.


In response to the support for a Palestinian state shown by Schumer and the Biden Administration, Netanyahu declared that it would be “the greatest reward for terrorism in history.”


“Hamas established a de facto Palestinian state in Gaza. What did they utilize it for? To kill Israelis and commit the most heinous acts against Jews since the Holocaust,” he told Fox News.


In addition, the prime minister demanded that international pressure be directed at Iran and Hamas rather than Israel.


“We will accomplish all of the war’s objectives—destroying Hamas, freeing all of our hostages, and making sure Gaza won’t be a threat to Israel—no matter how much pressure from the outside world,” Netanyahu vowed.


“We cannot and will not give in to these pressures,” Netanyahu asserted.


He also stated that, despite the opposition, the IDF will work in Rafah “carefully” and that “it will take a few weeks, but it will happen.”


After the IDF conducted operations in the north and center of the Palestinian enclave, Israel claims that Rafah, where four Hamas battalions are stationed, is Hamas’s final significant foothold in the Strip. As stated, it is not a matter of “if,” but “when,” an assault is required to accomplish the war’s objectives.


Prior to his meeting with Netanyahu, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on Sunday that the civilian losses from an Israeli operation in Rafah would make regional peace “very difficult.”


After meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah at his private home in the Red Sea town of Aqaba, Scholz stated, “Right now, it is about ensuring we come to a long-lasting ceasefire.” “That would enable us to prevent such a ground offensive from taking place.”


Scholz was scheduled to meet with Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon in Israel.


When asked if he was willing to put pressure on Netanyahu to halt such an assault, Scholz stated that it was “very clear we must do everything so the situation does not get worse than it already is.”


“Israel has the right to protect itself… At the same time, people in Gaza who fled to Rafah cannot be directly harmed by any military strikes or activities carried out there.”


When asked if Germany would retaliate against a widespread Rafah offensive by, say, limiting German arms sales to Israel, Scholz did not provide a clear response.


On October 7, Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern villages, killing over 1,200 people in Israel, the majority of whom were civilians, and transporting 253 hostages to Gaza, where more than half are still held. The deadly bombardment, followed by an Israeli offensive aimed at eradicating Hamas and recovering the hostages, has stoked fears of a regional conflagration.


More than 31,500 people have died in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. This number cannot be independently verified and includes the 13,000 Hamas terrorists Israel claims to have killed in combat as well as those killed by the terror groups’ unsuccessful rocket launches. Israel also claims to have killed about 1,000 gunmen inside Israel on October 7.


How political changes in the US and Israel are causing tensions:

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks on the Senate floor on March 14, 2024. (Video screen capture)
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks on the Senate floor on March 14, 2024. (Video screen capture)

The rising animosity between the Israeli leadership and Democratic leaders in Washington can be evident in their disagreements about how the war should be conducted. However, it also reflects long-term political developments in both countries.


Throughout his years in office, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition has become increasingly orthodox, relying on a number of tiny ultra-Orthodox parties. He has also shifted drastically to the right. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Republican Party has undergone a similar metamorphosis, and the party now has significant ideological similarities with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.


Infuriating Democratic leaders, Prime Minister Netanyahu has also demonstrated a great deal of bias toward Republicans. For example, in 2011, he lectured President Barack Obama on the Middle East crisis in front of media in his Oval Office, which infuriated White House officials. He visited Washington in 2015 at the invitation of Republicans and attempted to demolish the Iran nuclear deal at a speech to Congress. He also associated himself with former President Donald Trump, which resulted in significant policy victories, including the move of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


In light of this, as well as the hectic political atmosphere of a US election year, it is not unexpected that Republicans would try to take advantage of the division between Democrats and Israel for their own political gain. Believe that politics is involved.


Another longtime ally of Israel, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, defended Schumer resolutely on Sunday and attempted to clarify the comments. “He loves Israel just as much as we do. We support Israel. And the fact that he made this statement is noteworthy in light of what is going on in Gaza. “Israel’s reputation is at risk because of this,” the California Democrat said on “State of the Union,” referring to the world’s worry about the impending starvation in Gaza.


The speech made by Chuck Schumer was a brave and kind gesture toward Israel. And I want the prime minister to read the entire speech, since he emphasizes the need of defeating Hamas.” Pelosi stated. “He is concerned about the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and the very dangerous behavior of the right-wing Israeli government.”



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