President Biden is set to speak Monday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a source has confirmed to Fox News, as tensions between the U.S. and Israel are escalating over the direction of the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

The scheduled meeting – which would be the first call since Feb. 15 – comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a speech Thursday calling for Netanyahu’s ouster and labeling him an “obstacle to peace.” The next day, Biden described Schumer’s remarks as a “good speech” that “expressed serious concern shared not only by him, but by many Americans.” 

Netanyahu then issued a sharp rebuttal to Schumer on Sunday, saying during an interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend” that his comments on the Senate floor were “wholly inappropriate.” 

“I think we’re not a banana republic. The people of Israel will choose when they’ll have elections, who they elect, and it’s not something that will be foisted upon us,” Netanyahu added. 


Biden and Netanyahu

President Biden, right, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The majority leader had said he believed that “Prime Minister Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take the precedence over the best interests of Israel.” 

“It’s wrong to try to replace the elected leaders of a sister democracy and a staunch American ally at any time, but especially during the time of war,” Netanyahu countered. 


President Joe Biden is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

President Biden, right, is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport on Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby brushed off questioning Sunday regarding whether Biden believes Netanyahu is an “impediment to peace,” saying the two world leaders have “known each other a long time” and have an open line of communication. 

“Does the president think that Benjamin Netanyahu is a bigot? That he’s an impediment to peace? That he should be lumped in with Hamas?” Fox News’ Shannon Bream asked Kirby on “Fox News Sunday.” 

Kirby did not explicitly answer, instead highlighting that the two world leaders have long known each other and that the U.S. respects Israel’s sovereignty.  

Schumer gives Senate floor speech critical of Netanyahu

In this image from video provided by Senate TV, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks on the Senate floor at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 14. Schumer called on Israel to hold new elections. Schumer says he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “lost his way” over the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and a growing humanitarian crisis there.  (Senate TV via AP)


“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. 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. We respect the sovereignty of the Israeli people,” he responded. 

Fox News’ Patrick Ward, Madeline Coggins and Emma Colton contributed to this report. 

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