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Democrats welcome a tougher stance on Israel when violence flares up

“We believe this will become the center of the Democratic Party,” added Ben-Ami.

Last week, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a new round of rocket attacks on civilian areas in Israel, prompting lawmakers of both parties to violently condemn the aggression and assert Israel’s right to defend itself against an enemy, who thinks that he shouldn’t exist. Democrats urge the Israeli government to fight the Palestinians counterproductive within its own borders – but they also urge Biden to speak up.

“If the Biden government puts the rule of law and human rights at the center of its foreign policy, this is no time for lukewarm statements.” Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) Saidreferring to the threat of evictions which he said would violate international law.

Israel’s controversial settlement activity threatens to evict Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem in what has been viewed as a precursor to the violence that has exploded in the region in recent weeks. Israeli attacks in Gaza, seen in retaliation for strikes against Israel’s own territory, have killed more than 100 Palestinians this week alone. As of Friday evening, there were growing fears of a ground invasion in Gaza.

An Israeli air strike on Saturday destroyed a skyscraper in Gaza City that housed The Associated Press offices. The strike came almost an hour after the military ordered people to evacuate the building that also housed Al-Jazeera, other offices and residential units. There was no immediate explanation as to why it was attacked.

“We are in this moment today because Hamas made a terrible mistake and fired unprovoked rockets at Israel. But we also came here because the Israeli government has effectively eliminated the prospect of a viable Palestinian state, ”said Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Who traveled to the region earlier this month just before the violence increased short interview on Friday.

Top American officials are working feverishly to bring about a ceasefire as the death toll has risen over the past week. A ceasefire alone, however, would not address what some Democrats see as the Israeli government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, which has actively obstructed a viable Palestinian state. The conflict also comes when Israeli lawmakers struggle to cobble together a coalition government.

While Biden’s top MPs have privately voiced their concerns about the settlements and possible evictions, the government has been trying to keep Israel in check as the president tries to re-enter the Iranian nuclear deal, which Israel vehemently opposes. That stance is no longer tenable, Democrats say, as the prospects of a full-blown war grow and tensions between Arab and Jewish Israelis soar.

“The government needs to unbalance this problem and more urgently undo the damage that the Trump administration has wreaked, heightened tensions and pushed peace further out of reach,” said the progressive and self-described Zionist who wrote the Has called on Israelis to end what he calls “occupation and creeping annexation”.

Some Democrats believe that the Palestinians are being implicitly told that if they do not speak out more directly against Israel’s activities, they will never be able to gain sovereignty.

“After this crisis, it is even more important for the United States to draw a tougher line with the Israeli government and demand that these settlements and these evictions and these evictions stop,” added Murphy. “Because the violence will not end, whether we like it or not, when the Palestinians feel they have no future and are unable to choose their own path.”

Other Democrats are also calling for some sort of reset when it comes to US-Israel relations. In a New York Times published Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Also urged the Biden administration to be more resolute in opposition to the Israeli government’s actions, noting that there is no way to de-escalate without US involvement .

“[I]If the United States is to be a credible voice on human rights on a global scale, we must consistently adhere to international human rights standards, even if this is politically difficult, ”Sanders wrote. “We have to recognize that Palestinian rights are important. Palestinian life is important. “

These and other statements underscore the slow but sustained change in democratic politics regarding US-Israel relations. Sanders’ view has grown in prominence among Democrats in recent years, especially after throngs of progressives were elected to Congress in 2018. Many of these brands are increasingly concerned about Biden’s foreign policy decisions.

The MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) pointed to a “strong generation change” which underpins the contempt of the foreign policy establishment in Washington.

“The fact that this government is even reluctant to adopt such a fundamentally humane attitude is disappointing and unacceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters at the Capitol on Friday. “We cannot advance this idea that we are a neutral party in this situation if our actions consistently target Palestinians.”

Not all Democrats see it that way. Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi described the ongoing conflict as a “Palestinian power struggle” as Hamas asserts its dominance over the Gaza Strip. She noted that Hamas threatens the safety of innocent Israelis and that the government has every right to defend its people.

“Many of our members in our caucus are good friends of Israel, but also understand that we respect self-determination, that we want a two-state solution in the region,” she said. “But that doesn’t give Hamas a license to bomb Israel.”

Much of the tension between Democrats and Netanyahu dates back to Barack Obama’s presidency when the US entered the Iranian nuclear deal despite Israel’s fierce objections. Most Democrats backed this 2015 deal, though there were notable problems, including chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez (DN.J.) and current Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Menendez condemned Israel’s recent strikes – a notable criticism by one of the most pro-Israeli Democrats on Capitol Hill.

“I am deeply concerned about reports of Israeli military actions that resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza, and about Israeli attacks on buildings housing international media,” Menendez said, calling on the Israeli government to “practice the conscientious practice of giving continue warning of his attacks in order to reduce the risk of harm to the innocent. “

Meanwhile, Republicans are knocking on Biden for his efforts to re-enter the nuclear deal, citing Tehran’s support for the terrorist groups attacking Israel. Any attempt to rejoin the Iranian nuclear deal would likely require the US to lift the tough sanctions already in place.

“It’s hard to believe that the moment Iranian missiles hit Israel, an American president would consider lifting terrorism or missile-related sanctions,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said this week.

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