Chuck Schumer’s speech calling for Israel election ‘inappropriate,’ Netanyahu says

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday that US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s speech in which he urged new elections in Israel was “totally inappropriate.”

In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Schumer, a longtime supporter of Israel and the highest-ranking Jewish US elected official, called for new elections in Israel and said Netanyahu was an obstacle to peace.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

“I think what he said is totally inappropriate. It’s inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there,” Netanyahu said in the CNN interview.

The speech reflected growing frustration in Washington with Netanyahu, his management of the war with Hamas, failure to do more to protect Palestinian civilians and perceived obstruction of aid deliveries in Gaza. International criticism of US support for Israel has mounted due to the death toll and starvation crisis in the coastal enclave.

Schumer said it would be a “grave mistake” for Israel to reject a two-state solution and urged negotiators in the Israel-Gaza conflict to do everything possible to secure a ceasefire, free hostages and get aid into Gaza.

President Joe Biden said on Friday that Schumer’s comments echoed the concerns of many Americans, describing the remarks as a “good speech.”

Still, White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Sunday that Biden believed it was up to Israel to make its own decisions about internal politics.

“We respect the sovereignty of the Israeli people,” Kirby told Fox News Sunday. “The president believes it’s up to the Israeli people and the Israeli government to determine if and when there's going to be new elections.”

Schumer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Netanyahu's reaction to his speech.

Schumer last week also criticized Palestinians who support militant group Hamas, and said Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas should also step aside.

Schumer also raised the possibility of Washington using its leverage if Israel does not change course. Still, he did not go as far as suggesting a step some Democrats advocate: introducing legislation to make easing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza a condition for the US provision of weapons to Israel.

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Israel’s military assault on Gaza has displaced nearly its entire 2.3 million population, caused a starvation crisis, flattened most of the enclave, killed over 31,000, according to Hamas health officials, and led to accusations of genocide being probed in the World Court.

Israel denies the genocide charges and says it is acting in self-defense after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel from Hamas that killed 1,200 and took scores of hostages.

With Reuters

Read more:

US President Joe Biden backs Schumer’s anti-Netanyahu speech

US Senate leader calls for ‘new election’ in Israel

Netanyahu says pressure won’t stop Israel as he vows to push with Gaza offensive

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