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Kirby dodges questions on whether Biden believes Netanyahu is impeding peace

White House national security adviser John Kirby sidestepped questions Sunday about whether President Biden believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is impeding peace amid the war in Gaza.

“Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream pressed Kirby on the speech Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered last week in which he called for Israel to hold new elections and said Netanyahu has “lost his way.” His speech was met with backlash from Republicans, with some saying Schumer was trying to meddle with Israel’s elections.

Bream noted Biden later said Schumer gave a “good speech” before asking Kirby if the president believes Netanyahu “is a bigot, that he’s an impediment to peace, that he should be lumped in with Hamas.”

“These are two men — leaders that have known each other a long time, Shannon, and they don’t agree on everything, haven’t over 40 years. And there are certain aspects to the prosecution of operations in Gaza where we obviously don’t agree with everything that Israel has done,” Kirby responded.

“But they have a relationship where they can talk to one another. And they do, and they will again. He is the prime minister of Israel, and we respect the sovereignty of the Israeli people,” he added.

When asked further if Biden believes that a new prime minister should replace Netanyahu, Kirby said the matter is “up to the Israeli people.”

“The president believes it’s up to the Israeli people and the Israeli government to determine if and when there’s going to be new elections. But he does — as he said shortly after leader Schumer’s very passionate speech — he recognizes that the leader was speaking for a lot of Americans who feel the same way about the way the war is going,” he said.

“We also have concerns about some of the operations and how they’re being conducted. We need to make sure that civilians are protected and secured, that civilian casualties come down, that more trucks and assistance get in and, of course, we’re still working on that temporary cease-fire to get all those hostages out,” he added.

While Biden has maintained that the U.S. supports Israel’s right to defend itself, he has been more vocal in recent weeks and months about his concerns with Israel as it continues to wage its war against the militant group Hamas. In an interview last week with MSNBC, Biden said he believed Netanyahu was “hurting Israel more than helping.”

Source: The Hill

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