Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday brushed off President Biden’s call for a “significant de-escalation” of the conflict in Gaza, saying he is “determined to continue” the operation against the terrorist organization Hamas – just as Biden is facing pressure from the progressive arm of his own party on the issue.
“The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the White House said in a statement.
But, after a visit to military headquarters hours later, Netanyahu said he “greatly appreciates the support of the American president,” but said Israel will push ahead “to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel.”
The original story is below.
Tlaib Confronted Biden On Tarmac Over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; Did He Cave To Her Demands?
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, met briefly with President Joe Biden in Michigan on Tuesday morning, telling him the U.S. must take steps to address violence and human rights abuses against Palestinians by Israelis.
“Palestinian human rights are not a bargaining chip and must be protected, not negotiated,” Tlaib’s office said the congresswoman told the president.
Tlaib, who met with Biden along with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, at Detroit Metro Airport, made the comments following a spike in violence in the Middle East over the last week, with rocket attacks, beatings and other fighting leading to the deaths of more than 200 people.
Biden was in southeastern Michigan to tour a Ford Motor Co. plant in Dearborn, which has a large Arab-American community and on Tuesday saw several protests against continued support of Israel from Biden and the U.S.
Critics of the Israeli government argue that Palestinians are being pushed out of their homes and denied basic rights. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, a territory that has been blockaded by Israel, has been lobbing rockets at Israeli targets. Palestinian territories, however, have borne the brunt of the violence and deaths from Israeli attacks.
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Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress and whose grandmother lives on the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel, has been an outspoken critic of Israel. Her office said when speaking with Biden — who has said he supports a cease-fire but also recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself — she “conveyed… the same messages she has shared on the House floor and publicly… The U.S. cannot continue to give the right-wing Netanyahu government billions each year to commit crimes against Palestinians.”
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 17, 2021
“Atrocities like bombing schools cannot be tolerated, much less conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons. Congresswoman Tlaib reiterated that the status quo is enabling more killing, that the current U.S. approach of unconditional support for the Israeli government is not working, and that the White House must do far more to protect Palestinian lives, dignity and human rights,” her office said.
The situation wasn’t the only thing they talked about: Tlaib also said she appreciated that Biden was in metro Detroit to tour a plant dedicated to making electric trucks with union labor. “A green future means good paying union jobs for our community,” her office said.
During his speech at the Ford plant, Biden singled out both Dingell and Tlaib and said that he admired Tlaib’s intellect and compassion. He said he hoped that her family on the West Bank was safe.
“I promise I’ll do everything I can to make sure they are,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments to Tlaib begin at 45second mark
His administration, however, made it clear that while it is working to resolve the current fighting, it won’t do so publicly.
His press secretary, Jen Psaki, said that much of the discussions on ending violence were happening — and would continue to happen — outside of public view. “Sometimes diplomacy has to happen behind the scenes,” she said.
Contact Todd Spangler at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @tsspangler. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Tlaib confronts Biden on Israeli-Palestinian conflict ahead of Ford visit
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