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Joe Biden declares ‘Israel has right to defend itself’ after it kills scores in Gaza

Joe Biden is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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The Democratic presidential candidate lamented the ‘intolerable’ conditions endured by Israeli civilians without mentioning the lethal impact of the recent strikes for civilians of the Gaza Strip.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden came out strongly in support of Israel’s missile bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, declaring in a tweet that Israel “has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats.” 

The former US Vice-President has yet to make no mention of the scores of Palestinians, including at least three children, killed in Israel’s latest military operation on the besieged enclave.

“Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday. “It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That’s why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome.”

Israel hit Gaza with airstrikes beginning in the early hours of Tuesday, assassinating senior militant leader Baha Abu al-Ata along with his wife.

Comment: Israel: the country that loves US handouts but hates US criticism

A barrage of retaliatory rockets sent by Gaza militants into Israel was returned with intensive Israeli strikes on the impoverished enclave. Israel claims to be targeting Islamic Jihad militant sites and rocket-launching squads, but the bombings have killed a number of civilians, including at least three children.

Human rights activists lambasted Biden’s comments, pointing out the one-sidedness of his claim.

“When they say ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ immediately ask why Palestinians have no right to defend themselves and must get slaughtered, bombed, occupied, starved, and humiliated in silence,” tweeted Palestinian activist Iyad al-Baghdadi. “Somehow the occupier has the right to defend himself but the occupied don't.”

Israel has for months been threatening a major military operation on the Gaza Strip. Over 2,200 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, most of them civilians. Seventy Israelis were killed in the conflict, 64 of them soldiers.

While more progressive Democratic primary candidates such as Bernie Sanders have said they would condition the $3 million worth of military aid the US gives Israel annually, Biden has said such policies would be a “gigantic mistake”.

 “Look, I have been on record from very early on opposed to settlements, and I think it’s a mistake,” Biden told a reporter earlier this month, “And Netanyahu knows my position. But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous.”

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