How US presidents defended Israel over decades | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:40 AM, May 18, 2021

ISRAELI-Palestinian CONFLICT

How US presidents defended Israel over decades

Joe Biden is not only US president to back Israel amid criticism of military operations and abuses against Palestinians. While calling for a de-escalation, Washington has failed to urge an immediate ceasefire or utter a word of criticism directed at Israel.

MAY 2021: Biden has twice issued statements reaffirming his commitment to Israel's "right to defend itself" against rockets fired from Gaza during Israel's ongoing offensive on the territory. Israeli officials say thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel, where 10 people have been killed to date, while a barrage of Israeli air strikes on the besieged territory have killed at least 188 Palestinians and injured hundreds more.

MAY 2018: Former US President Donald Trump – a staunch defender of Israel and the country's prime minister, Netanyahu – rejected any attempts to criticise Israel for the killing of dozens of protesters in Gaza in May 2018. Palestinians were participating in a "Great March of Return" rally when Israeli forces opened fire on the crowd.

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JULY-AUGUST 2014 : Israel carried out 10 days of aerial bombardments of the Gaza Strip in July 2014 before launching a ground offensive into the territory. On July 18, then-US President Barack Obama told reporters he had "reaffirmed [his] strong support for Israel's right to defend itself" in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

NOVEMBER 2012: More than 100 Palestinian civilians were killed when Israel launched a military offensive on Gaza in November 2012 after it assassinated Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. Obama once more defended Israel's actions.

2000-2005: An incendiary visit by Israeli politician Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque in September 2000 led to mass Palestinian protests and confrontations with Israeli security forces that left seven Palestinians dead. The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, was launched. Newly elected President George W Bush closely aligned with Sharon in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

1996: US President Bill Clinton defended Israel after its military launched an attack on a UN compound in Qana, in southern Lebanon, where hundreds of civilians had been sheltering in April 1996. The attack killed more than 100 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

1987-1991: A series of protests, strikes, and boycotts defined the First Intifada, with Israeli security forces criticised for disproportionate crackdowns, including the use of live fire against Palestinians. The uprising erupted as US President Ronald Reagan had begun to bolster Israel's role as a "unique strategic asset".

1967: In June of 1967, Israel launched an air assault on Egypt that began the so-called Six-Day War. US President Lyndon B Johnson recounted in a 1971 New York Times piece, "I can understand that men might decide to act on their own when hostile forces gather on their frontiers and cut off a major port, and when antagonistic political leaders fill the air with threats to destroy their nation."

1948: On May 14, 1948, the head of the Jewish Agency proclaimed the creation of the independent state of Israel as the United Kingdom's colonial mandate over the territory ended. US President Harry S Truman immediately recognised the new sovereign nation.

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