Former vice president Mike Pence has attempted to blame Joe Biden for the outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine.
In an op-ed for National Review on Monday, Mr Pence argued that the Biden administration was undoing the efforts of his government, and has created an environment for tensions to increase. A major contributing factor of the violence was restrictions placed on Gaza by the occupying Israeli government during the Holy Month of Ramadan, such as shutting the Gate of Damascus.
Mr Pence wrote, “Many Americans witnessing the recent bloodshed in Israel are perplexed by how quickly violence erupted after years of calm. The answer is that President Biden and congressional Democrats have abandoned unambiguous support for our ally Israel, emboldened our enemies, and turned their back on the policy that yielded historic peace deals in the Middle East.”
The US is one of Israel’s most steadfast allies, supplying $4 billion dollars in military aid. Until the recent increase in tensions, president Biden and his government had no plans to amend the work of his predecessor. NBC News wrote that the Biden administration’s foreign policy priorities were more concerned with Russia and China.
“Now Biden is repeating those grave errors by creating a power vacuum of his own. He has replaced strength with weakness, moral clarity with confusion, and loyalty with betrayal. Biden’s void, too, is being filled by America’s enemies — and Israelis are paying the price in blood,” Mr Pence continued later in the piece.
Alongside the aid the US gives to the Israel, Mr Biden has blocked three statements from the United Nations pushing for a ceasefire in the region after a week of violence. According to the BBC, around 200 Palestinians are reported to have been killed by Israeli rockets, with 59 being thought to be children. Ten Israelis civilians are believed to have died as well, two children among them.
Israeli rockets also destroyed a building in Gaza that housed offices for the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
The Trump administration brought significant changes to their relationship with Israel, such as recognising the much-contested Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Mr Trump admitted at a 2020 campaign rally made evangelicals incredibly happy. Mr Pence is a notable evangelical conservative politician.
“Americans should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and stand without apology for our most cherished ally, Israel, until the violence is quelled and Israel’s security is restored,” Mr Pence wrote, concluding the piece.
Mr Pence is not the only political figure to urge Mr Biden to reconsider his approach. The left wing of Mr Biden’s own party have made similar arguments, although on the opposite side of Mr Pence.. People like Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have pushed the federal government to do more to rethink their approach to Israel and labelled them an “apartheid state”, citing a report from Human Rights Watch.
Independent US senator Bernie Sanders wrote an opinion piece of his own in The New York Times where he called on Americans to have a different relationship with the Israeli government.