Palestinian Israeli conflict

White House: Biden has different approach on Israel than Trump administration

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The White House said Thursday that President Joe Biden had a different approach to US dealings with Israel than the Trump administration.

Asked what the US could do to pressure Israel and protect the life of Palestinian children, Psaki said Israel had a right to defend itself. “I would say that what our effort has been focused on is conveying behind the scenes that certain Israel has a right to defend itself, but that it is time now to bring an end to this conflict,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Al Arabiya during a press briefing.

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But Psaki said the Biden administration was dealing with Israel in a different manner than former President Donald Trump, who was seen as emboldening Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to make unilateral decisions on occupied Palestinian lands.

“We have certainly had a shift in our approach as it relates to our engagement with the Palestinians from the last administration, including the fact that the consulate was closed,” Psaki said.

Trump ordered the closure of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington and suspended the US funding of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).

Biden announced the resumption of US aid to UNRWA and said it would reopen the Palestinian offices in Washington. The PLO offices remain shuttered.

“So we have certainly taken a different approach. And we believe our role here can be playing a role behind the scenes conveying that it’s time to bring an end to the conflict,” Psaki said.

US officials have been conducting so-called quiet diplomacy since the outbreak of violence between Palestinian factions and Israel nearly two weeks ago.

“Every life lost, every one of these children who has lost their life, every family that has had to mourn the life of a loved one is certainly too many,” Psaki said.

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