update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Between Washington and Jerusalem, a flurry of calls in past few days

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials spoke several times on Oct. 10, the fourth day after Hamas attacked Israel, killing more than 1,000 people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

U.S. and Israeli senior officials have stated that they will remain in close contact, which is the story that a bustle of readouts from both countries bears out.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the afternoon “to provide an update on ongoing U.S. support for Israel,” per a U.S. readout.

Biden “detailed the U.S. support that had arrived or would soon be on its way to include ammunition, Iron Dome interceptors, the world’s largest aircraft carrier and other defense materiel,” the White House stated.

“The president underscored the need for all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas’s brutal atrocities, which are akin to the atrocities of ISIS from many years ago,” it added. “The prime minister provided an update from Israel and the spirit of the Israeli people as they unite to protect their country and their people against Hamas and all other threats.”

Netanyahu and Biden agreed “to speak again in the next few days,” per the readout.

A readout that Netanyahu’s office released noted that it was his and Biden’s third call since Saturday. “We’ve never seen such savagery in the history of the state,” Netanyahu told Biden. “They’re even worse than ISIS, and we need to treat them as such.”

Netanyahu “made it clear that a powerful and prolonged campaign, which Israel will win, will be necessary,” per the Israeli readout.

“We were struck Saturday by an attack, whose savagery we have not seen since the Holocaust. We’ve had hundreds massacred, families wiped out in their beds in their homes, women brutally raped and murdered, over 100 kidnapped, including children,” Netanyahu told Biden.

“Since we last spoke, the extent of this evil, it’s only gotten worse. They took dozens of children, bound them up, burned them and executed them. They beheaded soldiers,” he added. “They mowed down these youngsters, who came to a nature festival, and just put five jeeps around a depression in the soil, and like Babi Yar, they mowed them down, making sure that they killed everybody.”

‘Hamas … must be universally condemned’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked with Israeli President Isaac Herzog “to reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ horrific terrorist attacks,” per Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman. “The secretary reiterated his condolences for all those killed or injured and for those still missing.”

In a separate call, Blinken reiterated “profound condolences” to Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and “reaffirmed unequivocal U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens against this attack,” according to Miller.

“The secretary and the minister made clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy and must be universally condemned,” Miller added.

During the White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden has held 17 calls and meetings with the national security team since Saturday, and Biden and Harris have held more than three dozen meetings, briefings and calls in that span.

“The president will continue to be relentless in ensuring that Israel and the Israeli people have what they need in support from the United States to defend themselves in the days, weeks, months and years ahead,” she said.

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