June 15, 2021

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Pelosi, AOC’s comments on airstrikes in Gaza and Israel underscores divide among Democrats – Fox News

3 min read

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday condemned the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel, and said Tel Aviv has the right to “defend herself against this assault.” 

“Every civilian death is a tragedy that we mourn,” she said in a statement. “Hama’s accelerating violence only risks killing more civilians, including innocent Palestinians.”

Pelosi appeared to assign some blame to both sides for the initial escalation, and said, “recent inflammatory provocations including extremist forces in Jerusalem have exacerbated the situation, and restraint must be shown by all to de-escalate the crisis.”

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., blamed Israel for its retaliatory airstrikes that left at least 10 Palestinian children dead. 

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Ocasio-Cortez called out fellow Democrat and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang for having planned to attend a since-canceled Islamic event in the city after he put out a statement of support for Israel. 

“Utterly shameful for Yang to try to show up to an Eid event after sending out a chest-thumping statement of support for a strike killing 9 children, especially after his silence as Al-Aqsa was attacked,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “But then to try that in Astoria? During Ramadan?! They will let you know.”

Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan and Yang had planned to attend a related grocery distribution in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens on Wednesday, according to The Hill.

Yang told reporters Tuesday the organizers of the event said it would be best if he didn’t attend. “We were happy to oblige by their wishes.” 

He said he thought the request was connected to his tweet on Monday in which he wrote, “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.”

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Omar on Tuesday tweeted that “Palestinian children deserve advocates for their humanity, safety and security. No exceptions,” she wrote.

Dozens have been killed in attacks between Hamas and Israel in recent days, including at least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis, Reuters reported. Three Israeli women and a child were among the dead. Gaza’s health ministry said at least 10 of the dead were children. 

Tensions had escalated between the two sides ahead of a court hearing about Israeli settlements that could force Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to be evicted from their homes. The hearing has been postponed, according to Reuters. 

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders also spoke out against the violence on both sides and condemned “right-wing extremists in Jerusalem” over the settlements. 

“Israeli children should not have to spend the night scared in bomb shelters, as many are doing tonight. Palestinian children should not have to grow up under the constant violence and oppression of occupation, as so many do, and have done,” he tweeted. 

He said the U.S. must call for an immediate cease-fire and an end to “provocative and illegal settlement activity.” 

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the pending evictions “abhorrent and unacceptable,” according to the Times of Israel. 

The U.S. State Department also expressed concerns about the evictions. 

“We are deeply concerned about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in the Silwan neighborhood and in Sheikh Jarrah, many of whom have lived in their homes for generations,” Jalina Porter, a department spokesperson, said in a briefing, according to the Times

Confrontations erupted last weekend at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism. Over four days, Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians in the compound who hurled stones and chairs at the forces. At times, police fired stun grenades into the carpeted mosque.

On Monday evening, Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza. From there on, the escalation was rapid.

Representatives for Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez and Yang didn’t not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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