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May 28, 2024
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Nancy Pelosi says Israel’s Netanyahu ‘should resign’ as prime minister

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign, adding another influential voice to Democratic criticism of the Israeli leader.

In an interview published Monday, Rep. Pelosi cited the recent resignation of the intelligence chief of the Israel Defense Forces over failures surrounding the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack, before pointing the finger back at Netanyahu.

“We recognize Israel’s right to protect itself. We reject the policy and the practice of Netanyahu — terrible. What could be worse than what he has done in response?” Pelosi, D-Calif., told Irish broadcaster RTÉ’s Six One News.

“He should resign. He’s ultimately responsible,” she added.

Asked whether she viewed Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace, Pelosi responded: “I don’t know whether he’s afraid of peace, incapable of peace, or just doesn’t want peace. But he has been an obstacle to the two-state solution.”

The Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

Pelosi gave the interview during a trip to Ireland, where she was named the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright Ireland Public Service Award.

Earlier this month, Pelosi joined more than three dozen members of Congress who signed a letter urging President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “reconsider” a recent decision to authorize a new arms package transfer to Israel.

The lawmakers had called for the U.S. to withhold future arms transfers until it completes a full investigation into the airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers this month.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to local health officials. The Israeli government has said that about 1,200 people were killed in Israel during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, with about 250 hostages taken, though it’s unclear how many are still alive.

Pelosi’s remarks come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S., called for new elections to replace the Israeli leader, saying on the Senate floor last month that “the Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7.”

The Senate voted Tuesday to pass the $95 billion aid package passed by the House on Saturday that includes $26 billion in aid to Israel and humanitarian relief in Gaza. Biden is expected to sign the measure into law.

Zoë Richards

Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.

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