The two leaders had shared near-weekly phone calls following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas, yet until Friday, they had not spoken for 28 days amid growing dissatisfaction with Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza.
White House officials did not immediately provide a readout of the call but said the two leaders discussed “the latest developments in Israel and Gaza.” The call followed a string of visits by Biden administration officials to the Middle East to de-escalate tension in the region and secure additional humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders last week and reportedly convinced Saudi Arabian officials to agree to help rebuild Gaza after the war.
Biden initially gave his full support to the Netanyahu government’s efforts to root out Hamas in Gaza but began distancing himself from the military operations in the face of widespread domestic calls to support an immediate ceasefire.
Biden’s initial stance on the war caused him to hemorrhage support from both young voters and Arab and Muslim Americans in critical swing states like Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan.
The president addressed that dynamic for the first time on Thursday, suggesting that former President Donald Trump, the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee, would ban Arab immigration to the United States should he take back the White House in November.
“Look, the president wants to put — the former president wants to put a ban on Arabs coming in the country,” Biden told reporters before boarding Marine One. “We’ll make sure that we understand who cares about the Arab population, No. 1. No. 2, we’ve got a long way to go.”
Biden’s remarks echo similar comments made by his reelection campaign when confronted with the president’s overall declining support among minority voters.
“When it comes to voters of color and if we’re worried, look, our campaign has been putting in the work to do everything we need to do to communicate with communities of color next fall, to make sure that they turn out,” Quinton Fulks, principal deputy campaign manager for Biden’s 2024 campaign, said in January.
He continued, “We know that we have to communicate to these constituencies about what this administration has done, we have to communicate with these constituencies about the dangers that the other side poses, and we’re going to do both, but voters of color are the ones who have the most at stake in this election, and we need to make sure that every single one of them understands the choice in front of them.”