“Squad” Democrats gathered on Capitol Hill to call for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza on Thursday, doubling down on accusations that Israel is targeting civilians and committing “genocide.”
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., held the press conference alongside Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. They also invited members of the Doctors Without Borders organization, which provides humanitarian aid in Gaza. Bush had vicious words for Israel during her opening remarks.
“When we hear genocidal rhetoric, when we witness devastation and mass murder, when we finance the bombs being dropped, when we intentionally disregard the suffering, we allow the people we represent to be complicit in mass atrocities,” Bush said.
“And let me be clear about what’s happening: These are war crimes. The targeting of civilians is a war crime; the targeting of medical facilities is a war crime, the starvation and withholding of water and electricity is a war crime; the collective punishment of 2.3 million people is a war crime, and we refuse to be silent,” she added as Omar and Tlaib nodded in agreement.
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Israel, meanwhile, gave civilians in the Gaza Strip warnings and urged them to evacuate war zones ahead of strikes targeting Hamas’s terror infrastructure. While many Palestinian civilians have died during the war, the Biden administration has defended Israel’s right to self-defense, noting that civilian deaths, while tragic, are a result of “the nature of conflict.”
The “Squad” trio has already faced heavy criticism for their incendiary rhetoric around the Israel-Hamas war. Tlaib herself was censured in the House of Representatives in November after she defended a chant calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.
Tlaib also jumped to accuse Israeli Defense Forces of bombing a hospital in Gaza in October.
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“Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that,” Tlaib wrote on social media at the time.
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Data would later show that the explosion came from a terrorist rocket that fell short of its target in Israel. The true death toll was also only a fraction of the 500 deaths Tlaib suggested.
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Israel’s war with Hamas entered its third month on Thursday, with Israeli forces making significant progress against Hamas following the collapse of a cease-fire late last week.