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Biden 'removed condemnation of Israeli occupation of Palestine' from campaign platform: report

Biden allegedly told his advisors not to include “any reference to Israeli occupation”. [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 August, 2020

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Biden allegedly told his advisors not to include “any reference to Israeli occupation” into a draft of his campaign’s platform days before it was released on July 15.

US Democratic nominee Joe Biden made a last minute decision to remove his support for ending Israel’s occupation of Palestine from his platform, days before it was due to be published, according to reports by Foreign Policy.

The former US vice president allegedly told his advisors not to include “any reference to Israeli occupation” in a draft of his campaign’s platform days before it was released on July 15.

This decision was taken by the nominee after “heavy lobbying” by pro-Israel advocacy groups, said the three sources cited in the report.

Biden’s aides were reported to have phoned other Democratic leaders, urging them not to take a stand against Israeli occupation, arguing this would threaten the unity of the party.

“The question of whether to allow the text to refer to ‘occupation’ or use the phrase ‘end the occupation’ was taken to the vice president and he said ‘no,’” said Jason Isaacson, the chief policy and political affairs officer at the American Jewish Committee, to FP.

“This is not an issue on which the party can bend because it would be contrary to the position of Joe Biden.”

Even though Biden has been advocating for stronger diplomatic ties with the Palestinians, this u-turn shows a reluctance to break from previous Democratic campaigns reluctant to acknowledge Israel's occupation of Palestine.

At a summit appealing to Muslim-American voters, Biden vowed to rescind Trump's travel ban "on day one" if he's elected.

He urged Muslim-Americans to join him in the fight to defeat President Donald Trump.

"I want to earn your vote, not just because he's [Trump] not worthy of being president... You deserve to have a president and an administration who'll work with you and support you in these efforts, not try to scapegoat your communities or advance xenophobic political agenda on the back of Muslim communities," he said at the "Million Muslim Votes" event held by Emgage Action.

Several prominent Muslim American elected officials endorsed Biden for president in a letter organized by Emgage Action ahead of the summit.

Among those who signed the letter are Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, all Democrats. Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, served as a high-profile surrogate for Bernie Sanders before he exited the presidential race in April — making her support for Biden potentially helpful as the former vice president seeks to mobilise Muslim voters this autumn.

“Muslim-American voices matter to our communities, to our country,” Biden said. “But we all know that your voice hasn’t always gotten recognised or represented.”

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a declaration condemned by the Palestinians who regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

In the following years Washington transfers its embassy to Jerusalem and Trump formally recognises Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

On January 28, 2020, Trump unveiled a controversial Middle East peace plan which provides for the annexation of swathes of the West Bank by Israel.

US elections take place in November which will see President Donald Trump challenged by Democratic hopeful Joe Biden.

Many Muslim-Americans say that Donald Trump's administration is the most hostile to them in living memory.

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