- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki played coy on Friday when asked about President Biden’s relationship with Israel‘s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the strength of its alliance in a post-Trump era.

Ms. Psaki said she couldn’t give “an exact timeline” when Mr. Biden would speak with Mr. Netanyahu and stressed “inter-agency processes” when pressed on the current nature of the U.S./Israeli relationship.

“I know that you’re saying, you know, things are still under review, including policies like Abraham Accords, but can you please just give a broad sense of what the administration is trying to achieve in the Middle East?” a reporter asked. 

“I think we, uh, there are ongoing processes and internal inter-agency processes, one that I think we confirmed, an inter-agency meeting, just last week to discuss a range of issues in the Middle East,” Ms. Psaki replied. “We’ve only been here three-and-a-half weeks and I think I’m gonna let those policy processes see themselves through before we give kind of a complete lay down of what our national security approaches will be to a range of national security issues.”

Ms. Psaki previously stressed that a “long-standing relationship” exists with Israel without delving into the delay in calling Mr. Netanyahu.

“There’s an important relationship that the United States has with Israel on the security front and as a key partner in the region,” she said Thursday. “[Biden will] be talking with him soon.”

Former President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes, offered a sharper assessment of the situation.

“What a surprise that after Bibi spent years relentlessly undermining the Obama-Biden Administration he’s not at the top of the call list,” Mr. Rhodes tweeted Wednesday.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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