US President Joe Biden has disputed charges that Israel is an “apartheid” nation, instead calling it a “democracy” and a “friend” while touting billions in additional military support.
Speaking to Israel’s N12 News just before embarking on a trip to the Middle East on Wednesday, Biden was asked about “voices in the Democratic Party” which consider Israel an apartheid state and urge for an end to unconditional US aid.
“There are a few of them. I think they’re wrong. I think they’re making a mistake. Israel is a democracy. Israel is our ally. Israel is a friend, and I think I make no apology,” he said in response, adding that his administration has devoted around $5 billion to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday in the annual “Children and Armed Conflict” report that the Israeli occupation forces killed 78 Palestinian children, maimed another 982, and detained 637 in 2021.https://t.co/xePxlSp3Br pic.twitter.com/4bGxk9DKgn
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 13, 2022
Though some Democrats, such as progressive lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), have repeatedly slammed Israeli policies toward the Palestinians as an example of apartheid, Biden insisted there is “no possibility” of Democrats or Republicans ever “walking away from Israel.”
In May, Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, penned a statement accusing the Israeli government of “ethnic cleansing” against Arabs, while fellow members of the left-leaning ‘Squad’ argued that “apartheid states aren’t democracies” around the same time, apparently referring to Israel.
Just two months prior, the UN’s human rights body issued a report which concluded that Israel’s system “ensures the supremacy of one group over, and to the detriment of, the other,” particularly in the occupied West Bank, arguing that it meets the legal definition for apartheid. The report went on to state that Palestinians have been forced to “live behind walls, checkpoints and under a permanent military rule,” echoing previous findings by rights groups such as Amnesty International and B’Tselem.
Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday he hoped the regional visit by US President Joe Biden this week will lead to a common Middle East market that includes Saudi Arabia.https://t.co/PU4qm8QEqa pic.twitter.com/HvcHDY7Kts
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 14, 2022
Not long after his interview with N12, Biden took off for his first presidential trip to the Middle East, making his initial stop in Israel. After high-level meetings with Israeli officials, he will go to the West Bank to meet the Palestinian leadership, with security expected to be the focus of the talks. From there Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia for a regional summit, where he will meet with leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.
During an arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday, Biden declared that ties between Americans and Israelis are “bone deep,” saying the bilateral relationship is “deeper and stronger” than it has ever been.
(RT, PC, Social Media)