Tensions between the US and Israel flare after Biden says Netanyahu will not receive an invitation to the White House “in the near future”.

WASHINGTON — Tensions between the United States and Israel flared after President Joe Biden criticized the Israeli leadership’s plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t get an invite to the White House anytime soon.

Speaking to reporters in North Carolina on Tuesday, Biden said he was concerned about the state of democracy in Israel after a planned judiciary overhaul sparked street protests and public walkouts. Netanyahu put the plan on hold on Monday.

“Like many supporters of Israel, I am very concerned,” Biden said. “And I worry that they’re doing it right. You cannot continue down this path.”

When asked if he plans to invite Netanyahu to the White House, Biden said “not in the near future.”

Netanyahu fired back and wrote a statement posted in English on Twitter that Israel “is a sovereign country, making its decisions according to the will of its people and not based on outside pressure, including best friends.”

“I have known President Biden for over 40 years and appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel,” Netanyahu wrote. “The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always transcends the occasional disagreements between us.”

The public spat followed days of behind-the-scenes diplomatic discussions in which Biden and other US officials expressed their concern about the judicial reform plan to Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.

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The Biden administration has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House to meet President Joe Biden. In this file photo, the two shake hands after meeting in 2016 when Biden was vice president.

What happened in Israel?

The excitement of the reforms spilled onto Israel’s streets on Sunday, as tens of thousands of Israelis protested outside parliament, workers launched a nationwide strike that paralyzed much of the country, and diplomats walked out of foreign ministries. The chaos followed Netanyahu’s sacking of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who had called for a pause in reforms.

The proposed judicial reforms, being pushed by Netanyahu and his allies in Israel’s most right-wing government of all time, would limit the powers of the Supreme Court, give the government control over the appointment of judges, and give Israel’s parliament or Knesset the power to pass laws , previously declared invalid by the court.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, insists the reforms will prevent Israeli courts from encroaching. But critics see it as an attempt to give the ruling party more power.

What did Biden and Netanyahu say?

Biden expressed concerns about the reforms in a phone call with Netanyahu last week.

Netanyahu announced in a national address on Monday he would postpone the proposal, saying he wanted to “avoid civil war” and take time to seek a compromise.

Biden and Netanyahu have known each other for four decades. Netanyahu was reportedly upset that Biden hasn’t invited him to the White House since he returned to power three months ago. according to Israeli media reports.

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MIchael Collins reports on the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden says Netanyahu will not receive a White House invite “in the near future.”

Source : news.yahoo.com

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