President Biden at a press conference on Friday evening pushed back on Republican claims that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel.
Why it matters: A number of Democratic lawmakers became frustrated with Biden this week for his behind-the-scenes approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the administration’s sale of weapons to Israel. Some lawmakers said they thought the White House should be more publicly forceful in its efforts to de-escalate the crisis.
Driving the news: Biden said at a joint press conference Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday there needed to be an immediate ceasefire.
- “He never broke his word with me,” Biden said of Netanyahu.
One day after the ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli police forcibly dispersed a protest at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount, the site of last Monday’s police raid that Hamas cited in launching its initial rocket attacks.
- Biden said he again made it clear to Netanyahu it is important to bring an end to the intercommunal violence in Jerusalem. “This has to stop,” Biden stressed.
What he’s saying: The president added he is committed to a two-state solution, which he called the only viable fix to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- “There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel,” Biden said. “Period. No shift. Not at all.”
- He added that, “Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state there will be no peace.”
Of note: On Thursday the president said, “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy.”
Source: Axios Breaking News