CONGRESSWOMAN Rashida Tlaib confronted Joe Biden over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “wars crimes in Gaza” as protests erupted during the president’s visit to Michigan.
Rep Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who has family still living in the West Bank, met with Biden on the tarmac as he stepped off Air Force One on Tuesday for a visit to a Ford factory in Dearborn.
The pair were pictured in a tense exchange out of the earshot of cameras and with staff looking on.
Biden had his mask off as he gestured in what appeared to be an explanation to Tlaib, who had kept her mask on.
The president kept his arm around First Lady Jill Biden who was also masked during the nearly eight-minute exchange.
At one point, Biden put back on his mask as he made his way toward the presidential motorcade.
As he spoke at the factory, Biden praised the Michigan congresswoman and sent his best wishes to her Palestinian-based family.
“I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, I admire your compassion,” Biden said.
“I pray that your grandmom and family are well.”
Tlaib did not reveal what she and the president spoke about.
Before her meeting with the president, Tlaib had blasted Biden on Twitter for his handling of the current crisis.
“@POTUS + @SecBlinken: If you support a cease-fire, then get out of the way of the U.N. Security Council and join other countries in demanding it,” she wrote.
“Apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu will not listen to anyone asking nicely. He commits war crimes and openly violates international law.”
She continued to slam him in an appearance on MSNBC.
"Enough, President Biden," Tlaib said.
"You will not do this on our watch. You have to speak out against this violence in a very aggressive way that holds Netanyahu and his leadership accountable."
Biden on Monday revealed that he had told Netanyahu he supported a ceasefire as the escalated violence entered day nine.
A White House description of the call said that Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end.”
It was the first time that the White House had mentioned a ceasefire in its diplomatic efforts.
Yet Biden did not go so far as to demand a ceasefire of the Israeli leader.
The president on Tuesday touted his infrastructure plan which includes billions in funding for electric cars as he visited the Dearborn plant.
The city is 47 percent Arab Americans with one of the largest Muslim populations in the US.
As Biden arrived at the plant, Arab American groups held three separate protests across the city in reaction to his statements on the Israeli-Palestinian violence.
It followed widespread protests across the US over the past few days calling on the Biden administration to pressure Israel to end its military strikes on Gaza.
Abdallah Sheikh, president of the American and Muslim Political Action Committee, pleaded with Biden to demand a ceasefire.
“We are asking him to cease the fire,” he said during a press conference in Dearborn on Tuesday.
“We are asking him to end the war in Palestine. We are asking him to help.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has claimed that the president wants to see an end to the violence and suffering of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
“As I’ve noted in the past, our focus and our strategy here is to work through quiet, intensive diplomacy,” she said.
“And he’s been doing this long enough to know that the best way to end an international conflict is typically not to debate it in public, so we will continue to remain closely engaged behind the scenes.”
She also slammed the Trump administration’s handling of Middle East affairs.
Trump had appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to oversee efforts toward peace.
He and Trump were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for their Abraham Accords but Psaki blasted the peace treaties as “dead on arrival.”
"We felt there was not a constructive action by the prior administration, aside from putting forward a peace proposal that was dead on arrival," Psaki said.
"We don't think they did anything constructive really to bring it into the long-standing conflict in the Middle East."
The deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its second week on Monday.
According to officials, 212 Palestinians have reportedly been killed in Gaza, including at least 61 children, while over 1,400 have been injured.
In Israel, ten people – including a five-year-old boy – have died and hundreds have been injured by rockets fired from the Gaza strip.
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