President Joe Biden took a moment out of his speech at a Michigan auto plant on Tuesday to openly praise Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) “passion,” adding that he commits to ensuring her Palestinian family’s safety amid the escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza. Tlaib—the only Palestinian-American member of Congress—has been highly critical of Biden’s stance on the growing violence between Israelis and Palestinians, recently accusing him of “taking orders” from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people,” Biden said at the Dearborn Ford plant. “And it’s my from my heart, I pray that your grandmom and family are well—I promise I’m going to do everything to see that they are in the West Bank. You’re a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter.”
Since fighting broke out between Hamas and Israel last week, at least 197 Palestinians have been killed, including 92 women and children. Sunday evening marked the deadliest attack yet, as Israeli airstrikes killed 42 people, including 10 children, according to Palestinian officials. Hamas, which has shot over 3,000 rockets into Israel, has killed at least 10 Israeli residents, including two children.
Biden, while still hesitant to criticize Israel and reiterating that the country “has a right to defend itself,” recently expressed support for a cease-fire between Hamas militants and Israel.