A Week After Biden, Pelosi Calls Netanyahu to Talk COVID, Two-state Solution

U.S. House speaker highlights 'unbreakable bond' and 'unwavering support' for Israel in phone call, while Democrats are concerned Netanyahu has aligned too closely with the Republican Party

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol in in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2021.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol in in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2021. Credit: JOSHUA ROBERTS/ REUTERS
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

"Today, I spoke w/ @israelipm to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations & Congress’s unwavering support for a safe & secure Israel. We discussed COVID response & our shared hope for regional peace, including a just, stable & enduring 2-state solution," Pelosi tweeted.

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Their conversation comes a week after Netanyahu's first phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden nearly a month into his presidency – a timeframe that had many wondering if the U.S. administration intended to send the Israeli government a message.

Pelosi's call also follows growing talk within Democratic circles of "Bibi fatigue," with several officials telling Haaretz that Netanyahu has aligned too closely with the Republican Party.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid echoed these concerns this week, saying that "an Israeli prime minister should not be singing the obituary of Rush Limbaugh. This is not the kind of politics we need."

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reiterated the Biden administration's commitment to a two-state solution in a call to his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Blinken told Ashkenazi that "the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

This marks a clear departure from the previous U.S. administration's policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Donald Trump's Middle East Peace Plan, which critics said was biased towards Israel.

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