(JTA) – U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on the Israeli government to respect the rights of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border. Warren, D-Mass., made the call in a statement sent to The Intercept on Wednesday, the online news publication reported the following day. “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren said. “As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.”
In addition to Warren, who has been cited as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a Jewish lawmaker who ran in 2016 for the Democratic presidential nomination, late last month tweeted his criticism of Israel’s use of force during border demonstrations and called the killing of Gaza protesters “tragic.”
Three other members of Congress, all Democrats, have publicly voiced concerns about Israeli conduct toward protesters in Gaza: Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota; and Rep. Barbara Lee of California, according to The Intercept. The Intercept said lawmakers on Capitol Hill contacted by the news magazine would not condemn the killings of protesters or the Israeli military’s attempts to disperse them. Some lawmakers said they did not know enough about the incidents and others put the onus back on the Palestinians, it reported.
On two successive recent Fridays, Palestinian protesters have gathered at the border with Israel demanding the right to return to lands they claim their ancestors held. Israeli forces have fired on the protesters, killing at least 30, saying they are backed by Hamas and some have been violent, including throwing rocks and burning tires as a smokescreen so some may cross the border.