Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to President Joe Biden as his “friend,” and thanked him for supporting Israel’s efforts during the Gaza conflict in a press conference on Friday.
“My good friend Biden and I spoke six times in recent days — all the conversations were friendly and warm,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “He repeated that the US supports Israel’s right to defend itself … I thank him for his cooperation in manufacturing Iron Dome missiles.”
Netanyahu also reportedly commented that Israeli airstrikes destroyed more than 62 miles of Hamas’ underground tunnel network, and warned of additional retaliation should Hamas strike again.
“The public doesn’t know everything, Hamas doesn’t know everything, but all our achievements will be revealed over time,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “At this time, I can say we did daring and innovative things.”
Bibi says he spoke to “my friend” Joe Biden six times and said they were all warm, supportive conversations, and Biden understood Israel’s need to defend itself.
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) May 21, 2021
Netanyahu’s press conference marked the first day of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after eleven days of conflict.
Biden spoke with Netanyahu shortly after the ceasefire was declared on Thursday, reiterating U.S. support for “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
“I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future,” Biden stated. He also promised to provide humanitarian aid to support Gaza’s reconstruction efforts.
Biden previously spoke with Netanyahu on Wednesday, announcing that he conveyed his expectation of a “significant de-escalation … on the path to a ceasefire.” (RELATED: Biden Tells Israeli PM Netanyahu He Expects ‘Significant De-Escalation Today’ As Violence Moves Into Day 10)
Netanyahu responded at the time by saying he was “determined” to continue the Gaza operation.
Several Democrats have been vocally critical of the Biden administration’s posture toward Israel, condemning the administration for not standing up “to an ally,” and accusing Israel of being an “apartheid” state.
In response to this growing rift within the Democratic party, White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted, “The president doesn’t see this through the prism of domestic politics, he sees this through the prism of what role the United States can play as a leader in the global community to engage in quiet, intensive diplomacy to bring an end to the suffering and tragedy on the ground.”