Several Democratic members of the House of Representatives have spoken out against U.S. military support for Israel and called for the protection of Palestinian rights, in contrast to other Democrats and Republicans who expressed their full support for Israel during the continuous climbing Gaza Strip.
In an emotional speech in the House of Representatives, Rashida Tlaib criticized President Joe Biden and other high-ranking officials for offering statements he said did not recognize “Palestinian humanity.”
“Read the president’s statements [Joe] Biden, secretary [of State Antony] Blinking, general [Lloyd] Austin and leaders of both parties, you would hardly know that the Palestinians existed at all, ”said Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of the United States Congress.
“There is no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families uprooted from their homes right now. No mention of the arrest or murder of children. No recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by the Israeli police against the faithful. who kneel and pray and celebrate the holiest days in one of their holiest places, not to mention that Al-Aqsa is surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray. “
“Palestinians are not going anywhere.”
Representative @Sexyworld he struggled to hold back tears in Congress while questioning the “unconditional support” of the U.S. government on Israel.
Other Democrats gave their “unwavering” support to Israel. pic.twitter.com/dwjRi4HFzN
– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 14, 2021
With a keffiyeh and sometimes trying to hold back tears, Tlaib added, “If our own State Department can’t even acknowledge that the killing of Palestinian children is wrong, I will say so for millions of people. “Americans who defend me with the death of innocent children, regardless of their ethnicity or faith,” he added.
Israel continued to bomb the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery shells on Friday and rallied troops and tanks near the besieged Palestinian enclave.
At least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 830 injured since hostilities began on Monday. Rockets fired by Palestinian groups into the Strip have also killed seven people in Israel.
The U.S. administration has expressed sympathy for all victims, but has not highlighted any side or criticized Israel for the disproportionate use of force.
Biden said on Wednesday that Israel has a right to defend itself, while in its final comments on Thursday it reiterated a call for both sides to remain on fire.
“The question is how … they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in attacks, particularly rocket attacks that are fired indiscriminately at population centers,” he said.
Speaking during the same session of the House, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar condemned Israel’s policies and attacks on the Palestinians and called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an “ethno-nationalist leader.”
“Think 78 percent of them [Palestinians’] land was taken from them, ”Omar said, referring to the time that has elapsed since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.
Today is Eid, one of the happiest days on the Muslim calendar.
Although I prefer to spend it with my family, I have an obligation to defend the families whose children were taken away because of the violence in Palestine.
My observations on the floor of the house tonight pic.twitter.com/MSnNpuZuit
– Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) May 13, 2021
“Since then, 5.6 million Palestinians have been continuously displaced from their homes in one of the largest refugee crises in human history.”
Omar also criticized Israel’s policy of establishing illegal settlements on Palestinian land to displace Palestinians.
“It’s a conflict where a country, funded and supported by the U.S. government, continues an illegal military occupation on another group of people,” he said.
Congresswoman Cori Bush, a leading supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, paid tribute to Bassem Masri, a Palestinian American who supported the movement and died of a heart attack in 2018.
“Palestinians know what state violence, militarized police, and the occupation of their communities are like, and they live in this reality of having to cross checkpoints as they try to live their lives,” Bush said.
“We are anti-war, anti-occupation and anti-apartheid,” he said, in addition to other members of the U.S. Congress who took the floor to support Palestinian human rights.
During her speech, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said, “We cannot remain silent when our government sends $ 3.8 billion in military aid to Israel that is used to demolish Palestinian homes, imprison Palestinian children, and displace Palestinian families. A budget it is a reflection of our values ”.
Powerful words of @AyannaPressley: “We cannot remain silent when our government sends $ 3.8 billion in military aid to Israel that is used to demolish Palestinian homes, imprison Palestinian children, and displace Palestinian families. A budget is a reflection of our values.” pic.twitter.com/R8twLfyIpS
– Waleed Shahid (@waleedshahid) May 13, 2021
For her part, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the Biden administration to recognize its role in the injustice and human rights violations that Palestinians suffer.
“This is our business. Because we’re playing a role in it, ”the congresswoman said before adding,“ It’s not about both parties. It is an imbalance of power.
“The president and many other figures this week declared that Israel has a right to self-defense and that is a sentiment that resonates in this body,” the congresswoman said. “But do Palestinians have the right to survive? We believe this and, if so, we are also responsible for it ”.
Mark Pocan said his colleagues and he “stood up because no one should suffer the loss of life, freedom or dignity that the Palestinian people have suffered.”
He added: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
By contrast, several House Democrats also went to the House to express their full support for Israel.
Debbie Wasserman-Schulz expressed her “unwavering and firm support for the state of Israel.”
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad are responsible for the escalation that has caused the bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians,” he said, referring to the group leading the Strip and another Gaza-based faction.
“No nation should be subjected to rocket bombing like the one we see in this easel on a civilian population. Without the Iron Dome air defense system, the loss of life would be worse than the nightmare we face today. “
Josh Gottheimer, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, stressed that Hamas was a U.S.-designated “terrorist organization.”
“No one here should excuse a terrorist organization. Who is the next target of your sympathy? ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah? “He said.
“While we do not always agree on Israel’s policies, we should be very clear that nothing, nothing justifies a terrorist organization firing rockets at our ally.”
Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman called Hamas rockets “war crimes.”
“President Biden has unwaveringly declared our support for Israel’s right to defend itself,” he said.
“We mourn every civilian, Israeli and Palestinian death. We cannot accept reports of Palestinian deaths as they come from Hamas, a terrorist organization recognized by both the United States and the EU. “