Rashida Tlaib Breaks Silence Over Hamas Assault on Israel
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat known for her criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians, has responded to Hamas’ devastating attack on Israel.
Early on Saturday, the Palestinian paramilitary organization fired thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel, while its men launched an incursion into Israeli border towns, killing and kidnapping residents celebrating the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.
Authorities have confirmed that at least 700 Israelis have been killed and about 100 kidnapped by Hamas as of Monday morning. Israel’s retaliation, which the country’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described as the beginning of a “long and difficult war,” has killed more than 400 Palestinians and injured about 2,000, according to the latest estimates.
In a statement released on Sunday that broke her silence over Saturday’s deadly attack, Tlaib mourned the loss of lives on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day,” she wrote. “I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity.”
“The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance,” Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, said in her statement. “The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer. No person, no child anywhere should have to suffer or live in fear of violence.”
Since being elected to Congress for the first time in 2018, Tlaib has often spoken against Israeli policies, saying they have led to what she calls “apartheid” in Gaza and calling for sanctions against Israel.
The Michigan congresswoman was the first Muslim woman to serve in the state’s legislature and one of the first two to be elected to Congress, together with Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, whose response to the Hamas attack has also been closely scrutinized.
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“I condemn the horrific acts we are seeing unfold today in Israel against children, women, the elderly, and the unarmed people who are being slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas,” Omar wrote. “Such senseless violence will only repeat the back and forth cycle we’ve seen, which we cannot allow to continue. We need to call for deescalation and ceasefire.
“I will keep advocating for peace and justice throughout the Middle East.”
Tlaib’s statement differs from the tone struck by her fellow members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have strongly condemned the Hamas attack.
“There’s no justification for this violence,” Sanders wrote on X.
“I condemn Hamas’ attack in the strongest possible terms,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region.”
Both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez called for an immediate end to the violence in Israel and Gaza. President Joe Biden, among other world leaders, said Israel had a right to defend itself.