Progressives rip into the Biden administration for refusing to condemn Israel as airstrikes kill Palestinian civilians
- Progressives lashed out at the Biden admin. over its response to recent violence in Israel.
- The admin. touted Israel's right to self-defense as it carried out airstrikes in response to rocket attacks.
- The Israeli strikes reportedly killed 26 people, including nine children. Two Israelis were killed by the rockets.
Progressive Democrats on Monday called out the Biden administration for promoting Israel's right to self-defense as the Israeli military pummeled parts of Gaza with airstrikes in response to rocket attacks from militant groups.
The Israeli airstrikes killed 26 people, including nine children, per the Associated Press. Most of the rockets launched by militants in Gaza were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system, but two Israelis were killed. Hundreds of the rockets were fired by Hamas, which controls Gaza, and other militant groups.
Discussing the situation at a press briefing on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price called for "calm."
"While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory. It is critical for all sides to ensure calm and de-escalate tensions and avoid violent confrontations," Price said.
'He can't even condemn the killing of children'
Responding to Price's remarks in a tweet, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said, "Is @StateDeptSpox really refusing to condemn the killing of Palestinian children?"
Similarly, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted, "This unsurprising response is devoid of empathy and concern for human suffering. He can't even condemn the killing of children."
-Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 10, 2021
When asked about the reports of civilian deaths due to Israeli airstrikes during Monday's briefing, Price said, "These reports are just emerging ... I understand we don't have independent confirmation of facts on the ground yet, so I'm very hesitant to get into reports that are just emerging."
"Obviously, the deaths of civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinians, are something we would take very seriously," Price added.
Monday also saw Israeli police raid the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites, injuring over 300 Palestinians in the process, according to Palestine Red Crescent Society. Police - who said 21 officers were injured during the raid - fired fired rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas in the compound, Reuters reported.
Tensions stoked by historic and more immediate factors
The recent escalation in violence has been fueled by a convoluted array of factors, both historic and more recent. Israel's decadeslong occupation of Palestinian territories remains at the heart of the issue. More immediately, the planned evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem has led to demonstrations and increased tensions.
Progressives in Congress have spoken out against the impending evictions.
"We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem," Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted over the weekend. "Israeli forces are forcing families from their homes during Ramadan and inflicting violence. It is inhumane and the US must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians."
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a tweet called on the US to "speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward."
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