Ilhan Omar 'disappointed' by Biden administration's Israel policy

Ilhan Omar 'disappointed' by Biden administration's Israel policy
In an interview with Alaraby TV, US congresswoman Ilhan Omar said she was "disappointed" by the Biden administration's policy on Israel and the Palestinian territories.
3 min read
12 February, 2021

Ilhan Omar interview

US congresswoman Ilhan Omar has expressed disappointment in the White House's stance on Israel in an interview with Alaraby TV, The New Arab's affiliate television station.

During the interview, the Minnesota representative welcomed the US' "new opportunity" to "lead again in the world" following the election of President Joe Biden after an "absence from the international stage" under former President Donald Trump.

"Our inability to stand with people who have been fighting for democracy around the world as the last administration befriended and coddled dictators across the world has been really shameful," she said.

However, Omar criticised the Biden administration's reluctance to reverse certain Trump-era decisions with regards to Israel.

"It's really disappointing to see that there is willingness from the administration to confirm Israel right to have Jerusalem as its capital but not confirm the Palestinian right to have its capital in Jerusalem," she told Alaraby TV.

"When we talk about having justice for both of these peoples, it's going to be important that we are seen as a good faith partner for both," she said.

"There are many reasons why we should be condemning illegal settlements, it is a violation of international law, it's a violation of the rights of Palestinians. And we'll continue to stay strong in our stances in that regard, regardless of what administration is in the White House."

On the International Criminal Court (ICC) paving the way to probe war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Omar said the US "should not delegitimise" the court's work after the Biden administration reacted negatively to the ruling.

"It is shocking that the legitimacy of the ICC is something that is being questioned, and their ability to investigate, probe and render justice is being undermined here in the United States," she said.

The congresswoman deemed Israel's fierce opposition to the ICC's decision to be indicative of "accountability happening".

"Every country that has been probed, every leader that has been held accountable by the international courts says that they're being singled out, that it is injustice that's taking place against them," Omar told Alaraby TV, referring to accusations the Israeli government has levelled against the ICC.

Omar praised the Biden administration's decision to halt US support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen.

"I have long advocated for us to end our involvement and assistance in regards to the offense that has been taken by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen," she said.

"It's been a humanitarian crisis, the voices of the Yemeni people have long been silenced, justice has been denied, and it's going to be really important for us to take an important role in helping the Yemeni people who are struggling."

Omar also welcomed Biden's move to delist Yemen's Houthi rebels as a terrorist organisation, a reversal of a decision made in the last days of Trump's presidency.

She noted the new administration's "willingness" to "restore some order and normalcy in regards to who belongs on that list."

The congresswoman called China's much-criticised treatment of its Muslim Uighur population a "genocide" that "deserves serious attention" from the Biden administration.

"The United States can play a huge role," she said. "We have to look at this serious and devastating situation, and do everything that we can to hold the Chinese government accountable for this genocide that's happening right before our eyes."

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