President Joe Biden has come under fire from members of both parties following a series of violent incidents in Jerusalem over the weekend, Fox News reports.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing that the Biden administration holds “serious concerns” about the ongoing situation in Israel and Palestine, which included clashes that left hundreds of injured in an annexed east Jerusalem. The violence eventually culminated in a rocket attack towards Israel, which was met with a missile strike on a Hamas military post.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said in a tweet Monday that the Biden Administration "should strongly condemn Hamas and other terrorists that are exploiting tensions in Jerusalem to carry out rocket attacks against innocent civilians. The United States should unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend its citizens.”
Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News that the “actual actions” of the Biden administration have been “incredibly unhelpful” despite noting that what the government is saying “sounds good.”
"They’ve given away all leverage right up front, and we’re seeing this is a theme with the Biden administration in terms of handing out cash hoping it fixes the situation. So they’ve already agreed to give hundreds of millions of dollars without any conditions," he said.
Waltz suggested that the Biden administration could have used this cash as leverage to get the Palestinian Authority to “denounce Hamas,” saying, “without changing the governing situation on the ground. There’s just endemic corruption within the Palestinian government that is a real disservice to is people. Yet, American taxpayer dollars are going to flow back into that situation."
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said in an interview with MSNBC on Monday that the U.S. is “enabling” violence in the region by providing foreign aid to Israel, and hit the Biden administration for failing to “declare” that Israel is using that aid to “commit human rights violations.”
"U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to commit human rights violations. That needs to be said. I have yet to hear anybody from the Biden administration declare that," she said.
The White House said in a readout of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s call with Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat last Sunday that “Mr. Sullivan highlighted recent engagements by senior U.S. officials with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials and key regional stakeholders to press for steps to ensure calm, deescalate tensions, and denounce violence.”
It added, “Mr. Sullivan also reiterated the United States’ serious concerns about the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. They agreed that the launching of rocket attacks and incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel is unacceptable and must be condemned."
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