Palestinians Face Forced Expulsions as Biden Pledges Allegiance to Israel

During his visit, the U.S. president ignored the exclusion of the Palestinian people from Israel’s “democracy,” writes Marjorie Cohn.

U.S. President Joe Biden meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on July 14. (@POTUS, Twitter)

By Marjorie Cohn

President Joe Biden’s much-heralded visit to Jerusalem has confirmed that the United States remains Israel’s enabler-in-chief. Biden promised to continue providing Israel with $3.8 billion in annual military aid (more than the U.S. gives any other country) to maintain the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Pledging to “stand with the Jewish and democratic State of Israel,” Biden ignored the exclusion of the Palestinian people from Israel’s “democracy,” which extends only to Jewish people. Palestinians do not enjoy the same democratic rights as Jews. As Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently affirmed, Israel is an apartheid state.

After Biden arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called him “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.” Biden said, “You do not need to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Israel is a Jewish theocracy whose Zionist government was created on Palestinian land.

In the newly released Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration, Biden and Lapid “affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or de-legitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense, or to unfairly single it out in any forum including at the United Nations or the International Criminal Court.”

That means the Biden administration commits to: opposing the constitutionally protected boycott, divestment and sanctions movement; affirming Israel’s illegal claim of self-defense against Palestinians under its occupation; stymying the International Criminal Court’s investigation of Israeli war crimes; and voting against any criticism of Israel in the U.N. General Assembly.

While Biden pledges allegiance to Israel, thousands of Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta region of the occupied West Bank are facing imminent forced expulsions from their homes. Although this would violate the Geneva Conventions, Biden has not condemned it in spite of protests by U.S. Jewish organizations and 100 members of U.S. Congress. Biden would not meet with the people of Masafer Yatta or any other Palestinian community whose homes are threatened with demolition funded by U.S. tax dollars.

Shattered window from Israeli settlers’ September 2021 attack on the hamlet of Al Mufakara in Masafer Yatta. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Biden’s visit comes on the heels of the U.S. government’s whitewashing of Israel’s assassination of beloved Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who reported for Al Jazeera for 25 years. Although the U.S. concluded she was “likely” killed by the Israeli military, the U.S. said it had “no reason to believe” the killing was “intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.”

Abu Akleh, who was wearing a helmet and vest labeled “PRESS,” was shot below her ear, the only part of her face that was unprotected. Al Jazeera journalist Shatha Hanaysha, who also wore a helmet and vest marked as press, said the soldiers “did not stop firing even after [Abu Akleh] collapsed.… The army was adamant on shooting to kill.”

CNN forensic investigation cited explosive weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith, who concluded that “the number of strike marks on the tree where [Abu Akleh] was standing proves this wasn’t a random shot, she was targeted.” In a letter sent to Biden in advance of his visit, Abu Akleh’s family charged that “the United States has been skulking toward the erasure of any wrongdoing by Israeli forces.”

Two weeks before Israeli forces assassinated Abu Akleh, three leading Palestinian journalist organizations filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court that accused Israel of systematically targeting Palestinian journalists.

But Biden refused to meet with Abu Akleh’s family while he was in the region.

Iran Tops the Agenda 

At the top of the agenda for Biden and the Israelis was Iran, which Israel sees as an existential threat. Although the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was succeeding in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2018, to Israel’s delight.

[Related: Chris Hedges: War with Iran]

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran had agreed to cut back its nuclear program, and in return, the U.S. would lift billions of dollars of punishing sanctions.

During his presidential campaign, Biden committed to rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But a year and a half into his term, he failed to return the U.S. to the deal. He has also imposed additional sanctions on Iran, shamefully capitulating to Israeli pressure.

In the Jerusalem Declaration, Biden, on behalf of the United States, signed a “commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and [pledged] that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” When asked in an interview on Israeli television whether he would use military force against Iran, Biden ominously replied, “As a last resort, yes.”

Biden has refused to reverse other Trump actions that pandered to Israel as well. He has not withdrawn Trump’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Nor has he rescinded Trump’s declaration of legitimacy of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, or reopened the Palestinian mission in Washington.

Biden’s visit demonstrates scant difference between his administration and Trump’s in their uncritical, unwavering support for Israel. Using our tax dollars, the U.S. government continues to enable Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and a member of the national advisory boards of Assange Defense and Veterans For Peace, and the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her books include Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues. She is co-host of “Law and Disorder” radio.

This article is from Truthout and reprinted with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

10 comments for “Palestinians Face Forced Expulsions as Biden Pledges Allegiance to Israel

  1. Piotr Berman
    July 20, 2022 at 09:18

    “Biden has refused to reverse other Trump actions that pandered to Israel as well. He has not withdrawn Trump’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Nor has he rescinded Trump’s declaration of legitimacy of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, or reopened the Palestinian mission in Washington.”

    Biden did not reverse withdrawal from JA, did not reverse deportation request for Assange, arming Ukraine etc., I am not aware in what manner his Administration made a positive distinction with Trump, something about the renewable energy and “rainbow” rights? Whatever retrograde elements Trump and his crew added to foreign and military policies and practices, Biden kept. I had some hope that his crew will make such steps out of care about internal American politics and survival of Democrats as a major party, sadly, totally naive hope. A crew of opportunists and doctrinaires of a bad kind with an impaired “leader”.

    Gone are the days when American presidents care about illegal settlements and such, while I remember those times, they seem as remote as the age of quill pens.

  2. Guillaume Dohmen
    July 19, 2022 at 14:45

    One must not forget that the US president represents a nation that did the same to is original people as happens to the Palestinians now.

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    July 19, 2022 at 11:41

    I truly feel like throwing up when I see the Yanx’s hypocritical faces, their sly ‘smiles’, their ‘holier than thou’ attitudes. And I harbour the same feelings for all those ‘leaders’ who totally lack the balls to stand up to the US AND israel.

  4. Joseph
    July 19, 2022 at 10:50

    Zionist control our State Department and Congress. The Iraq War was fought on their behalf. Next, we are to destroy another of their foes-Iran? Once they lead our country to bankruptcy and loss of legitimacy by our sponsoring unconditionally this Apartheid, the Zionist will walk away to find the next naive nation state to support it/

    • Izatso
      July 20, 2022 at 14:51

      It’s more accurate to say that the US Jewish Lobby controls our State Department and Congress, not just Zionists. The active members of this Lobby are the Jewish leaders of over 240 US Jewish Organizations, financed primarily by the broad US Jewish Community, only some of which identify as Zionists. Not all Jews are Zionists, and many Jews besides Zionists support the Lobby, which involves billions of dollars of activity. The US Jewish Community supports the Israeli Jewish Community, even though many US Jews detest the behavior of the Israeli Jews to the Palestinians and for other things. That’s because dissention in the Tribe isn’t enough to cause a schism. Not yet anyway.

  5. Anonymous
    July 19, 2022 at 10:03

    Biden’s visit demonstrates scant difference between his administration and Trump’s in their uncritical, unwavering support for Israel. Using our tax dollars, the U.S. government continues to enable Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands.

  6. Realist
    July 18, 2022 at 20:06

    Sadly, one could have expected nothing else from America’s disgraceful and deluded dictator Joe Biden than to side with the other two most ruthless, racist, genocidal and anti-democratic countries in the world outside of Ukraine. The only difference between the three is that Israel and Saudi Arabia are becoming ever more wealthy from their despicable foreign policies while the United States is becoming ever more in debt and economically unstable, especially if we include Ukraine in this soiree of the Devil’s spawn. Our government literally chooses to go further into debt, threatening the well-being of our own citizens, by pouring multiple billions of dollars in cash into the coffers of Israel and Ukraine basically as gifts, while we pressure and bribe the Saudi’s to manipulate production and markets to deliberately destroy the economies of its fellow oil-producing states including Iran, Venezuela and Russia, all of whom we wish to destablise and overthrow their ELECTED governments, whilst preserving power for the dictators in Israel and the Saudi kingdom. Asking the now famous “Albright question,” (“Do the consequences make the policies worth it?”) a sane person would have to answer “hell, no!” Unless the intended goal was to further tyranny in the world while dismantling whatever vestiges remain of actual freedom and democracy in a collapsing United States of America. I’d really like to hear the political opposition pose that question to Clueless Joe, especially if we make it to election time before World War III commences. Like all the planet-ruling super computers that Captain Kirk has debated to death in Star Trek, old Joe’s circuits would fry as there is no logical defense of his actions.

  7. RS
    July 18, 2022 at 15:48

    The article fails to cover all the costs Israel inveigles from the U.S. Unlike foreign aid to other countries whose funds are parcelled out over the year, Israel gets the money in a lump sum. This allows Israel to lend the money to the Federal Reserve to be paid interest since it doesn’t need it. Before the disbursal to Israel, the U.S. has to borrow the money from the Federal Reserve and pay interest on that that it had just borrowed. The U.S. has to pay Egypt several billions to encourage it not to attack Israel. Any time Israel decides to blow up the Gaza Strip, the U.S. provides funds to rebuild which goes eventually to Israeli contractors. One estimate places the per capita aid given to Israel is $20,000. There’s a bit more. I estimate the total between $5 and $10 billion we pay to that country every year.

    • Brian Bixby
      July 19, 2022 at 23:44

      For many years the US would guarantee Israel’s loans, essentially like being a co-signer on someone else’s mortgage. Then Israel would deliberately default on the loan and the US taxpayer would be on the hook. I don’t know if that’s still the case.

    • Izatso
      July 20, 2022 at 14:41

      You mention some important things that are not publicized. Also, many of the gifts that US Jews make to Israel and its institutions are tax free. You’d have to be a lawyer to understand all the tactics that are often written into US law with the help of lawyers hired by AIPAC.

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