President Biden speaks to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Left, and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich. When he arrives in Detroit on Tuesday. Evan Vucci / AP hide caption
Evan Vucci / AP
Evan Vucci / AP
In a notable tarmac conversation, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib conveyed to President Biden its dissatisfaction with the United States’ response to the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas that has now entered its second week.
Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman to serve in Congress, also told Biden that Palestinians need to be protected and shared her keen assessment of Israel’s role in escalating violence, a member of the Congresswoman’s office said in a statement.
Their conversation took place after Biden landed in Detroit on Tuesday, ahead of his visit to Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in nearby Dearborn, and as global pressure increased on Israel and Hamas to conclude a ceasefire in their struggles.
Dearborn is home to a sizeable Arab-American population, and protesters took to the streets in the city on Tuesday to support the Palestinians.
Demonstrators in support of Palestinians walk down Michigan Avenue in Dearborn on Tuesday while President Biden visits a nearby Ford electric vehicle center. Carlos Osorio / AP Hide caption
Carlos Osorio / AP
“Palestinian human rights are not a bargaining chip and must be protected and not negotiated,” the aide told Tiden to Biden. “The US cannot pass on the right wing [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government billions every year to commit crimes against Palestinians. Atrocities such as school bombings cannot be tolerated, much less US-supplied weapons. “
It was reported this week that the United States is conducting a gun sale to Israel worth around $ 735 million – a deal that caught several Washington lawmakers by surprise and called on them to stop selling until a ceasefire is reached.
“Congresswoman Tlaib reiterated that the status quo allows for more killings, that the current US approach of unconditional support for the Israeli government is not working, and that the White House must do far more to safeguard the life, dignity and human rights of the Palestinians protect.” said the adjutant.
Tlaib’s remarks to the President echoed a passionate speech she gave in parliament last week calling for an end to the “apartheid system” and “racism” that she said the Israeli government said against Palestinians were required.
Biden, like his predecessors in the White House, has expressed support for Israel and its right to defend itself, while also encouraging Israel to protect innocent civilians.
In a carefully worded statement, the White House said when Biden spoke to Netanyahu on Monday, he “expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners to that end”.
Criticism from Tlaib and other progressive Democrats reflects the party’s differing views on longstanding tensions in the Middle East.
Speaking to Tlaib at the Ford plant after the brief meeting, Biden praised the Detroit congresswoman for her attention to human rights.
“I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people,” Biden said.
“You are a fighter and thank God you are a fighter,” he said, promising to do everything possible to ensure that Tlaib’s family stayed safe in the West Bank.