After severe pushback from progressive Democrats, led especially by 'the Squad', President Biden on Friday reiterated his support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians but also vowed there would be "no shift" in support for Israel.
"There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift," he said at a press conference after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The revelation via The Washington Post early this week that Biden approved $735 million weapons deal for Israel just ahead of the outbreak of the 11-day battle which took over 230 Gazan lives from Israeli airstrikes and included 12 deaths of Israeli civilians - caused a number of Democrats to urge that he be more "confrontational" with America's closest Mideast ally.
"The shift is we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer," Biden added, according to The Hill. He also vowed to help rebuild Gaza with a large amount of aid from the US: "They need the help and we’re going to get that done," he said.
But he again underscored the Israeli position on Hamas rocket fire and acts of terrorism, stressing that until the group "unequivocally" acknowledges Israel's existence, "there will be no peace."
Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday had reportedly intercepted Biden on the tarmac of Detroit's airport while he was en route to speak at a Ford plant. They reportedly talked for about eight minutes, and according to one summary of the tense encounter:
Tlaib told the president that by saying Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks by Hamas militants, the administration is giving free rein for Nethanyahu to continue to kill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the aide said.
"Palestinian human rights are not a bargaining chip and must be protected, not negotiated. The U.S. cannot continue to give the right-wing Netanyahu government billions each year to commit crimes against Palestinians. Atrocities like bombing schools cannot be tolerated, much less conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons," the aide told NPR.
And further a follow-up statement given to NPR from Tlaib's office said: "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."
AOC and others joined efforts this week to attempt to block the new weapons sales to Israel as the Gaza death toll had mounted, finally leading to a ceasefire that went into effect overnight Thursday.
At the Ford plant he later praised Tlaib multiple times, however, it appears the Friday statement was meant to reassure staunch supporters of Israel that his position has not softened of the Jewish state's "right to defend itself".