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Nearly every Democratic candidate rushed to defend Israel’s attack on Gaza, Warren only one to acknowledge Palestinian deaths

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A ceasefire has been reached between Israel and groups in Gaza, after two days of violence that left 34 Palestinians dead. Many of the Democratic candidates have tweeted about the events, defending Israel’s actions while condemning rocket fire from Palestine. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders expressed concern for Israelis and Palestinians, while Warren was the only candidate to acknowledge that multiple Palestinians have been killed.

“I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel,” tweeted South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, “Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

“I stand with Israel as terrorists backed by Iran fire rockets targeting innocent civilians,” declared Montana Governor Steve Bullock, “I support Israel’s right to defend its citizens from these heinous and cowardly attacks.”

Colorado Senator Michael Bennett condemned groups in Gaza for attacking innocent civilians, despite the fact that no Israelis have been killed and many Palestinians have. “Rocket attacks against innocent civilians are unacceptable,” he tweeted, “Israel has the right to self-defense against attacks by terror groups inside Gaza. De-escalation is the only path forward to peace and stability.”

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also only referenced Gaza’s rocket fire, while ignoring the Israeli missiles. “Rocket attacks on Israel continue,” she wrote, “My thoughts are with those living in fear and terror because of these attacks. The United States must continue to support Israel’s security.”

Former vice president Joe Biden was the first candidate to leap to Israel’s defense, sending out a tweet shortly after this round of violence began. He touted the Obama administration’s support for Israel’s air-defense system. “Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats,” said Biden, “It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That’s why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome.”

While he was vice president, the Obama administration signed a decade-long military aid deal with Israel to the tune of $38 billion.

California Senator Kamala Harris did not tweet about the situation, but she did defend Israel’s missile attacks to the Jewish News Syndicate. “The latest barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza on innocent Israelis cannot be tolerated—Israel has the right to defend itself from these horrific attacks,” she said, “I join others in urging against further escalation. I strongly support funding of the Iron Dome missile-defense system, which is, once again, saving countless Israeli lives.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted about the situation much later than the other candidates, expressing a desire for a peaceful resolution and a concern for victims on both sides of the conflict. “Israelis should not have to live in fear of rocket fire. Palestinians should not have to live under occupation and blockade,” tweeted Sanders, “The U.S. must lead the effort to end the crisis in Gaza and the persistent violence that threatens everyone.”

Warren tweeted similar sentiments, but was the only candidate to acknowledge that Palestinians were killed in Israel’s attacks. “I welcome the Gaza ceasefire,” wrote Warren, “Dozens were killed in Gaza, and hundreds of rockets fired at Israel. We must work to end rocket attacks on Israel, eliminate the Gaza blockade, and solve the humanitarian crisis so that all Israelis and Palestinians live in security and freedom.”

The subject of conditioning aid to Israel has become a consistent topic during the campaign, with Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg all indicating they’d be open to it. Recent polling shows that a majority of Democratic voters would like Israel’s military aid conditioned over its human rights abuses.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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7 Responses

  1. JWalters on November 14, 2019, 7:59 pm

    “Israel has a right to defend itself from its victims.” – American Israeli Choir

    • Kay24 on November 15, 2019, 12:24 pm

      “Israel does not have the right to occupy, steal lands, and kill unarmed Palestinian kids.”

      That should what our spineless Congress members be saying, whenever Palestinian civilians are being killed violently by our weapons.

  2. Misterioso on November 15, 2019, 10:15 am

    http://www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/13993/-Dr-Hanan-Ashrawi-The-universal-values-enshrined-in-Palestine's-declaration-of-independence-are-under-threat

    The Palestine Liberation Organization, Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy.
    Press Release, November 15/19

    Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: ‘The universal values enshrined in Palestine’s declaration of independence are under threat.’

    “Thirty one years ago, the Palestinian National Council announced the PLO’s endorsement of the two state formula as a path forward towards peace. The painful compromise of accepting to establish the Palestinian state over 22% of historic Palestine, embodied in the declaration of independence, reflected our commitment to the universal values and principles of international law, our determination to achieve peace, freedom, and dignity for our people and our commitment to reflect these principles in our system of governance.

    “This unprecedented gesture of generosity and sacrifice was welcomed by the majority of states around the world, which recognized the State of Palestine to reaffirm their commitment to international law and to the inalienable and universal rights of the Palestinian people for justice, freedom, and national independence.

    “Today, the international rules-based order founded on the principles and values of international law is under real threat by the rise of unilateralism, isolationism, and racism. This irresponsible trend threatens to disrupt and undermine stability, trade, and human rights worldwide. Indeed, this agenda of hostility and warmongering is an existential threat for the Palestinian people.

    “These dangers must compel the international community to positive and collective action in defence of our shared values. This includes states that remain negatively passive in relation to Palestine realigning their position with international law. It is time to proactively and constructively defend international law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by standing up for peace and recognizing Palestine.”

  3. Elizabeth Block on November 15, 2019, 12:49 pm

    It would be nice if Sanders and Warren showed some courage on this, but – as Arlo Guthrie said in quite another context – it wasn’t very likely and I didn’t expect it. I think this will be a case of “When the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow.”

  4. Sulphurdunn on November 16, 2019, 10:10 am

    You track me down, walk up and punch me in the face. When I punch back, I’m a bully for punching back because you have a right to defend yourself from me. Everyone on the playground knows who the real bully is, even his sycophants. When we go to the principal’s office I get blamed because your dad is on the school board.

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