Harris, Netanyahu Discuss ICC Investigation, COVID Cooperation in First Call

In first conversation since taking office, U.S. vice president speaks with Israeli prime minister about regional issues and shared interests

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
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Kamala Harris delivers remarks during a virtual meeting in Washington, this week.
Kamala Harris delivers remarks during a virtual meeting in Washington, this week.Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a call Thursday with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris for the first time since she took office, in which they discussed the International Criminal Court's decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes and agreed to promote cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Harris and Netanyahu "noted their respective governments’ opposition to the International Criminal Court’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel." The State Department said Wednesday that it is opposed to the investigation, saying that the ICC had no jurisdiction.

Harris also expressed support for the so-called Abraham Accords, the series of normalization pacts Israel reached with Arab states during former President Donald Trump's tenure, while stressing "the importance of advancing peace, security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

The statement also noted that the two countries will continue to closely cooperate on regional security issues, specifically noting "Iran's nuclear program and the regime's dangerous regional behavior."

Harris and Netanyahu also discussed the "importance of advancing scientific cooperation between our two countries and efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

Netanyahu also said that during his conversation with Harris, she praised Israel's vaccination program, and the two concluded that they will establish a joint taskforce aimed at strengthening cooperation, research and development of solutions for the coronavirus, water, renewable energy and other fields.

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