US President Joe Biden has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time on 17 February since the inauguration of the former, thus ending a four-week silence in which some Israeli officials accused the new US President of deliberately snubbing talks. According to Netanyahu, the two leaders spoke for an hour on the phone in a tweet he posted, containing a smiling picture of himself speaking to Biden in his office. Furthermore, the tweet stated that their conversation was friendly and warm.
According to a spokesman for Netanyahu, talks with Biden revolved around the future development of peace accords in Israeli-Arab relations, which had been brokered during the Trump administration. In addition, both leaders also discussed recent threats posed by Iran and other regional challenges observed by the two countries.
The call was conducted after Danny Danon, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN, questioned the US President on Twitter that it might be time to call the US’ closest ally, the leader of Israel. The tweet the former ambassador posted also included a domestic phone number, which he underlined is the number of the Israeli Prime Minister.
The Biden administration has been seeking to rekindle the Iran nuclear deal under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): a policy that Netanyahu has been strongly opposing against even during the Trump era. The Israeli Prime Minister had also underlined his opposition to the reconciliation attempts with Iran in an address to the US Congress, which had resulted in criticisms that he was interfering in US politics.
In a statement made by the White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki on 16 February, she indicated that Netanyahu would be the first person that Biden would talk to in the Middle East. Psaki expressed that Biden would be making a phone call very soon. Furthermore, although talks with Israel are not as active at the head of state level, Biden’s team was fully engaged with Israel counterparts at lower levels.