U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to the House floor on Thursday to compare Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinians with the “injustices” committed against migrants along the southern border who have illegally crossed into the United States.
Her controversial speech came as Israel appeared poised for a ground offensive against Hamas militants amid escalating unrest and rioting between Jewish and Arab factions at home. It also followed criticism from her and other left-wing “Squad” members of President Joe Biden and his administration, which they have accused of ignoring human rights violations in favor of supporting the Jewish state.
The self-described democratic socialist from New York claimed that the U.S. “must acknowledge its role in the injustice and human rights violations” while addressing an “imbalance of power” that she says exists between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We have to have the courage to name our contributions and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if the reason we don’t do that, if we’re scared to stand up to the incarceration of children in Palestine is because maybe it’ll force us to confront the incarceration here at our border,” she said in her speech. “If, by standing up to the injustices there, it will prompt us to stand up to the injustices here.”
Powerful words from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC): “Sometimes I can’t help bt wonder if the reason…we’re scared to stand up for the children in Palestine is because maybe it will force us to confront the incarceration of children here on our border.” #Gaza #Israel #Palestine pic.twitter.com/vABnOJI0iP
— INDEPENDENT PRESS (@IpIndependent) May 14, 2021
Fighting between Israel and Hamas began earlier this week after militants from the Iran-backed terrorist organization launched salvos of hundreds of rockets towards Jerusalem. Those attacks triggered a response from Israel in the form of airstrikes aimed at Hamas rocket launch and manufacturing sites.
On Friday, reports noted that the Israel Defense Forces were calling up 9,000 reservists in preparation for a possible ground assault as the military amassed at least three brigades including tanks and artillery on the Gaza border.
“I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a taped statement earlier in the day. “We are doing that, and we will continue to do that with heavy force.”
The IDF also reported that roughly 160 combat aircraft, tanks, artillery, and infantry units took part in a large overnight attack against a Hamas tunnel network. “We struck 150 targets and damaged many kilometers of the Hamas ‘Metro’ network,” the IDF posted in a tweet with an accompanying video showing Israeli troop and tank movements.
The target: The Hamas ‘Metro’ tunnel system in Gaza.
The operation: 160 aircraft, tanks, artillery and infantry units along the border.
We struck 150 targets and damaged many kilometers of the Hamas ‘Metro’ network. pic.twitter.com/otn7JKxB9c
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 14, 2021
According to reports citing the Gaza Health Ministry, some 119 Palestinians including 31 children and 19 women have been killed in the fighting thus far, with another 830 wounded. Meanwhile, Israeli officials say that at least seven people including a 6-year-old boy have been killed.
Hamas militants have reportedly fired some 1,800 rockets into Israel, while the IDF has retaliated with more than 600 airstrikes.
Earlier this week as fighting escalated, Biden reaffirmed the United States’ longstanding support for the Jewish state during a phone call with Netanyahu, the White House said. In a follow-up news conference, Biden said that Israel has “a right to defend itself against thousands of rockets flying into” their territory.
But his statement drew a fiery critique from Ocasio-Cortez, who claimed that Biden was coming down on “the side of occupation.”
“The president and many other figures this week stated that Israel has a right to self-defense and this is a sentiment that is echoed across this body. But do Palestinians have a right to survive? Do we believe that and if so, we have a responsibility to that as well,” she said during her speech.
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