Netanyahu Stops Short of Referring to Biden as 'President-elect'

Ten days after election called, prime minister says Biden 'supposed to be appointed the next president' as Trump continues to refuse to concede

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Joe Biden pose for the media prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2016.
Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Joe Biden pose for the media prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose not to refer to Joe Biden as president-elect during a press conference Monday, saying instead that Biden was "supposed to be appointed the next president."

Asked about international concern over plans for new construction in a part of Jerusalem located beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders, Netanyahu said that "in the very near future, I will speak with president... with Joe Biden... who is supposed to be appointed as the next president.

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"We usually update the administration in Washington on our construction plans," he continued. "We don't do it by surprise." He added that the U.S. was well-aware of the plans for construction in Givat Hamatos.

Netanyahu referred to President Donald Trump as president-elect immediately after he won his election in 2016, and the two spoke hours after Trump's victory was clear.

Trump has refused to concede 10 days after media outlets called the election, continuing to hurl unsubstantiated accusations of mass voter fraud, despite officials calling the election the most secure in U.S. history.

Netanyahu waited 12 hours before congratulating Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory, pointing to his "long and warm personal relationship" with the president-elect and describing him as a "great friend of Israel."

Soon after, he thanked Trump "for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights."

The plan to construct thousands of new homes in Givat Hamatos has drawn international criticism. On Monday, UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov voiced his concern over the plan, calling on Israel to withdraw its bidding tender. The bidding process for the expansion project was formally opened on Sunday.

The plans for the neighborhood, which would cut off the Palestinian town of Beit Safafa from surrounding towns, were drawn up several years ago, but were frozen following international opposition.

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