Democrats blast Israel's Gaza retaliations, call to cut aid

'Israel is the one guilty of terrorism.' As Hamas rocket attacks continue, Democratic lawmakers accuse Israel of terrorism, state violence.

David Rosenberg ,

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar
Reuters

A group of Democratic lawmakers castigated Israeli reprisals against the Hamas terrorist organization, and police actions to crack down on Arab rioting in Jerusalem.

Several prominent progressive members of the House of Representatives publicly decried Israeli reprisal strikes overnight following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, as well as police attempts to quell Arab riots on the Temple Mount Monday morning.

Israeli aircraft struck over 130 targets in the Gaza Strip Monday night and early Tuesday morning, killing 15 terrorists, after terrorists operating in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave fired hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory, damaging a number of homes and apartment buildings.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar slammed the Israeli reprisal, calling it an “act of terrorism”.

In a tweet overnight, Omar declined to mention Hamas attacks on Israel, while condemning Israel’s military response to the rocket attacks as “terrorism”.

“Many will tell you Israel has a right to defend itself, to safety and security, but are silent on whether Palestinians have those rights too. Until we can defend the rights of Palestinians just as we do Israelis, we have no leg to stand on when it comes to justice or peace.”

“Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid.”

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in a tweet early Tuesday morning condemned Israel both over its attacks on terrorist targets in Gaza as well as plans to evict dozens of Arab squatters from the Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The squatters, who are living on Jewish-owned property seized by the Jordanian government after local Jews were forced out in 1948, have refused to pay rent – a condition Jordan laid down for their use of the properties.

“I see some who were silent as Palestinians were ripped from their homes and tear gassed in their holiest mosques now finding their voices - to stand with the Israeli gov as airstrikes leave Palestinian children dead. Where are your voices when Palestinians are under threat?”

Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts hinted that the US should end its military aid to Israel, tweeting: “American government $$ should not finance state violence. In Boston. In Bogotá. In Chelsea. In Jerusalem. In Randolph. Anywhere.”

Both Tlaid and Omar, along with Indiana Congressman Andre Carson, released a joint statement condemning Israel over the airstrikes in Gaza and the police intervention against Temple Mount rioters Monday.

The three accused Israel of ‘human rights abuses’, and called for the ending of military aid to the Jewish state.

“We are horrified by the violent assault by Israeli forces on the Al Aqsa mosque, and the continued violent attacks on the Palestinian people during the holy month of Ramadan. More than 300 people were injured in the attack, 200 of whom have been hospitalized.”

“Everyone, regardless of their faith, deserves refuge and peace in their places of worship. The same should apply to Palestinians, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.”

“This is happening as the Israeli government plans to move forward with force evictions in the predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in direct violation of international law, the Geneva Convention, and basic human rights.”

“Today, the Israeli military launched air strikes into Gaza, killing 20 people, including 9 children, according to Palestinian health officials. And Hamas fired rockets into Israel. We condemn all violence in this conflict – these acts only serve to advance the political goals of the powerful at the expense of the suffering of the people.”

“Let us be clear, however: we continue to provide the Israeli government with over $3 billion in military aid every year – with no conditions or accountability for wanton human rights abuses and continuing illegal seizures of Palestinian land.”

“For decades, we have paid lip service to a Palestinian state, while land seizures, settlement expansion, and force displacement continue, making a future home for Palestinians more and more out of reach. It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives.”

On Monday, Israeli Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan blasted Tlaib over her claims Israel was "attacking" the Al Aqsa Mosque during Muslim riots in Jerusalem Monday.

"Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, maybe you should open your eyes to the whole picture? Islam’s 3rd holiest site is being used to stockpile Molotov cocktails and rocks that are being lobbed at the police and at Jewish worshippers praying at the Western Wall, below the Temple Mount," Erdan wrote on Twitter.

"Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have prayed freely at their holy sites, including in Jerusalem, over the month of Ramadan because Israel believes in freedom of religion and Israeli security forces work hard to enable all groups to pray in peace.

"In contrast, some so-called Muslim ‘worshipers’ are curtailing freedom of worship for thousands of Jews who want to celebrate Jerusalem Day, one of the most important days on our calendar marking the reunification of our sacred and holy city.

"Congresswoman, instead of calling for peace and calm, your tweets are the stoking tensions. Maybe you don't realize that your words encourage terror groups such as Hamas to fire rockets into civilian populations and carry out attacks against Jews," Erdan warned.



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