Tlaib says Biden is ‘failing’ Palestinians; Scholten, James want to help Israelis escape to U.S. ⋆
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) issued a statement on Friday blasting President Joe Biden for “failing in its duty to protect all civilian and American lives in Gaza.”
The Islamic militant group Hamas launched surprise attacks on Israel last week. Israel has since declared war on Hamas and the death toll has surpassed 3,000 people, with the Israeli military reporting more than 1,300 deaths and the Health Ministry in Gaza reporting over 2,200 deaths. At least 27 Americans have been killed.
Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American and a frequent Israel critic, has faced backlash this week from Republicans and some Democrats for a statement she released Sunday in which she did not mention Hamas and called for an end to “apartheid.”
Pro-Palestinian groups rally at the Capitol as Israel-Hamas war continues
On Wednesday, she first told the : “I do not support the targeting and killing of civilians, whether in Israel or Palestine. The fact that some have suggested otherwise is offensive and rooted in bigoted assumptions about my faith and ethnicity.”
Biden has expressed his unwavering support for Israel after Hamas’ attacks, which has angered some Palestinian-Americans and their political allies.
“I am calling for immediate de-escalation and ceasefire to save countless civilian lives, no matter their faith or ethnicity,” Tlaib said Friday. “Our government must lead with compassion for all civilians. I believe in my heart that the majority of Americans want the killing and violence to stop. War crimes cannot be answered with war crimes.”
The Israeli military has ordered half of Gaza’s population to evacuate, which has sparked a humanitarian crisis. Pro-Palestinian groups in Michigan and across the country have held protests.
Tlaib said the “collective punishment of Palestinian civilians is a war crime.”
“It is heartbreaking to witness the blanket disregard for saving civilians — including Americans — in Gaza,” she added. “President Biden has not expressed one bit of empathy for the millions of Palestinian civilians facing brutal airstrikes and the threat of a ground invasion of Gaza that would intensify this humanitarian crisis. “American Muslims and Arab Americans do not feel represented by our government right now. … I cannot believe I have to beg our country to value every human life, no matter their faith or ethnicity. We cannot lose sight of the humanity in each other.”
On a trip to the Middle East this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Israel officials and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabis. On Saturday, Blinken called for protection for civilians in both the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Associated Press reports.
“As Israel pursues its legitimate right, to defending its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for civilians, and we’re working together to do exactly that,” Blinken said, per AP.
He is now traveling to the United Arab Emirates to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.
Meanwhile, two Michigan members of Congress want the Biden administration to allow for visa-free travel to the United States for Israeli citizens with family here. Visa-free travel for Israeli citizens is currently set to begin on Nov. 30.
U.S. Reps. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids) and John James (R-Shelby Twp.) on Wednesday signed onto a bipartisan letter to Biden, Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“This past weekend we witnessed Hamas terrorists commit the single largest murder of Jews on a single day since the Holocaust. Over 1,200 Israelis have been murdered and Hamas has committed unspeakable war crimes,” the lawmakers wrote. “Over the weekend, many of us received calls from devastated constituents with Israeli family members wishing to take advantage of Israel’s recent admission into the Visa Waiver Program and host their loved ones.”
Bipartisan Letter Sherman-Banks Letter to Immediately Begin Israel Visa-Free Travel – Version
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced this week he will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel.
authored by Susan J. Demas
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