Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday spoke by telephone with US Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Vice President congratulated Netanyahu over the great success of the vaccination campaign in Israel. The Prime Minister and Vice President agreed on the establishment of a joint team to strengthen cooperation in research and technological development in the fight against the coronavirus, water, green energy and other areas.

The Vice President also expressed the US administration's total opposition to the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel for war crimes.

The Prime Minister said that “we will continue to strengthen intelligence and security cooperation” and added that, as the Prime Minister of Israel, he has “an absolute commitment to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons intended for our destruction.”

Harris tweeted about her conversation with Netanyahu and wrote, “President Biden and I are unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security. We discussed COVID-19, coordination on Iran, Israel’s warming relations with Arab countries, and advancing peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”

The conversation comes a day after the ICC determined it has the authority to launch a probe against alleged Israeli war crimes in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden Administration opposes the move and stressed, “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC.”

Before that, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the Biden administration opposes and is disappointed with the ICC decision.

Price told reporters the ICC has “no jurisdiction over this matter," which he said "unfairly" targets Israel.

“Israel is not a party to the ICC, and it has not consented to the court's jurisdiction and we have serious concerns about the ICC's attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” Price said.

Netanyahu’s conversation with Harris comes three weeks after US President Joe Biden phoned the Prime Minister for the first time since taking office.

The White House said following the conversation that Biden “affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the US-Israel partnership, including our strong defense cooperation.”

“Together, the leaders discussed the importance of continued close consultation on regional security issues, including Iran,” added the statement.

“The President emphasized US support for the recent normalization of relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world. He underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians.”

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