US Representative Tlaib accuses Biden of supporting genocide against Palestinians

FILE PHOTO: Activists calling for a ceasefire in Gaza protest outside the U.S. Capitol
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, has accused President Joe Biden of supporting a "genocide" against Palestinians and warned of repercussions in next year's election.

In a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, late on Friday, the Democratic Congresswoman from Michigan repeated her calls for Biden to back a ceasefire in the almost month-long Israel-Hamas conflict.

"Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people," Tlaib said in the video clip, which showed images of the dead and wounded from bombings in Gaza, pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the United States, Biden declaring support for Israel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanking the U.S. president.

The White House did not directly comment on Tlaib remarks and instead reiterated its position on a temporary pause in fighting.

"As you’ve heard us say, we support humanitarian pauses in the fighting in order to get life-saving humanitarian aid in and distributed to those in need in Gaza, and to get hostages out," a White House National Security Council spokesperson said.

"What we do not support are calls for Israel to stop defending itself from Hamas terrorists, which is what a permanent ceasefire would be."

After Israel says gunmen from the Palestinian militant group Hamas killed 1,400 people and kidnapped more than 240 in a surprise attack on Oct. 7, the Israeli military launched an air, artillery and ground offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip that Palestinian authorities say has killed more than 9,400.

Food in Gaza is scarce, residents have resorted to drinking salty water, and medical services are collapsing.

Washington has maintained robust military and political support for Israel, while calling on its ally to take steps to avoid civilian deaths and address Gaza's humanitarian crisis.

"The American people will not forget. Biden, support ceasefire now or don't count on us in 2024," Tlaib said. "Mr president, the American people are not with you on this one. We will remember in 2024."

On Thursday, a group of seven independent United Nations experts said time was running out for Palestinians in Gaza who are at "grave risk of genocide".

Israel says it is targeting Hamas, not civilians, and accuses the Iran-backed militants of using residents as human shields. The Israeli mission to the U.N. in Geneva called the group's comments "deplorable and deeply concerning" and blamed Hamas for civilian deaths.

The International Criminal Court defines the crime of genocide as the specific intent to destroy in whole, or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by other means, including imposing measures intended to prevent births or forcibly transferring children from one group to another.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Daniel Wallis)