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Republicans & Democrats react to Gaza rocket barrage

Reps. Omar, Tlaib bash Israel

(JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump and others have reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense amid more than 600 rockets being fired by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the past couple days.

“Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens,” tweeted Trump over the weekend. “To the Gazan people – these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace – it can happen!”

 Others were quick to agree.

“We strongly condemn the attacks in Gaza by Hamas terrorists. Israel has the absolute right to defend itself & the U.S. stands by our great ally Israel,” tweeted U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

In addition to condemning the rocket attacks and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) said in a statement, “We are also thankful for the Iron Dome defense system that intercepted dozens of the more than 700 rockets fired from Gaza, helping avert further death and destruction. We continue to support cooperation between our two nations on this important tool for regional security.”

“Deeply concerned by the escalating violence in Israel and by Hamas’ indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians. These attacks are a sobering reminder of the constant threat that many Israelis live with each day. The US stands by Israel and supports its right to defend itself,” tweeted Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.).

 “The continued attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists are evil and should be fully condemned. Over 600 rockets launched on innocent civilians. The United States will not waver in standing with Israel and its people,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

“I’m outraged to see reports of more than 600 rockets launched at Israel. Israel has a right to protect itself against rocket attacks targeted at innocent civilians. We must condemn those responsible and support our ally. #IsraelUnderFire,” tweeted Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.).

“Hamas & Islamic Jihad, recognized terror organizations, are showing the world they remain committed to #Israel’s destruction & the murder of Jews. Israel – and its adversaries – must always know that it will not stand alone. America will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder w/ Israel,” tweeted Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

“The terrorists in control of Gaza are indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians. Now more than ever, America supports our ally’s right to defend itself,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also chimed in on the situation.

“Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired 600+ rockets at Israel in the past 36 hrs. Thousands of Israeli families are in shelters trying to stay safe. In Gaza, the terrorists are using Palestinian families as human shields, firing rockets at Israel from mosques & neighborhoods,” tweeted AIPAC.

“The world is too silent as Israelis are under rocket assault from Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” said B’nai B’rith International president Charles Kaufman and CEO Daniel Mariaschin in a statement.

“The massive shelling attacks – hundreds of rockets – that began Saturday have sent Israelis scrambling for shelters,” they continued. “From schools to apartment buildings to playgrounds to soccer fields, Israelis cannot go about their daily lives as terrorists have launched an offensive of indiscriminate rocket attacks against a sovereign nation. No other nation is forced to endure such attacks as part of its existence.”

“It should not come as a surprise that Israel will do what it needs to do to defend its population,” they added. “The international community must understand that Hamas is responsible for hiding behind Gazans to carry out its terror attacks. Hamas leaders cowardly hide while using their own population as human shields.”

“Democratic Majority for Israel condemns the deadly and unprovoked rocket attacks on Israeli civilians launched over the last two days from Gaza,” said its president and CEO Mark Mellman in a statement. “We mourn the loss of innocent life in Israel and Gaza and express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families.”

“This is the time for political leaders in both parties to express solidarity with Israel, and their commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he added. “We urge all of the Democratic presidential candidates to condemn these terror attacks and reaffirm their support of Israel’s right to defend itself.”

As of Sunday night, none of the 2020 Democratic candidates have commented on the situation in Israel or Gaza.

“Imagine if 600 rockets had been fired into the US or any other country besides Israel. What country would not defend itself? Every Presidential candidate needs to weigh in on their thoughts on this attack. Go ahead … we’ll wait,” tweeted former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who’s challenging Trump in the Republican primary, has not released a statement either.

As the Ledger went to press on Monday, Arab media reported that a ceasefire had been reached.

Nonetheless, there were those who strongly condemned Israel for the violence. 

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) criticized Israel for responding to the rocket fire from Gaza.

“How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends? The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace,” tweeted Omar. “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free? Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families. #FreePalestine,” tweeted Tlaib, referring to a New York Times headline on May 5 which read, “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds With Airstrikes.” (By the end of the weekend, it was estimated that 700 rockets had been launched from Gaza.)

CAP: Reps. Ilhan Omar (left) and Rashida Tlaib.

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