On the heels of some progressives taking to the U.S. House floor to denounce decades of the Israeli government and military’s human rights abuses enabled by U.S. leaders and lawmakers, Rana Abdelhamid—a primary challenger to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney—highlighted the contrast between her and the New York congresswoman’s recent statements about this week’s escalation in violence.
“Congress and the Biden administration must act immediately to end the violence, secure a cease-fire, and protect human rights.”
—Rana Abdelhamid, congressional candidate
As the death toll from Israel’s assault of the Gaza Strip continued to rise—since Monday, at least 128 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed—Abdelhamid said that the violence in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israeli forces and settler colonists are driving Palestinians from their homes, and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, “has been heartbreaking and unacceptable.”
“We’ve seen the Israeli military force hundreds of Palestinians out of their homes through the expansion of illegal settlements,” said Abdelhamid. “Palestinians are afraid to go to schools or houses of worship. Likewise, Hamas rockets targeting Israeli civilians are unacceptable. At the end of the day, without the United States playing an even-handed role and using our leverage in the region to end the occupation of the Palestinian people and secure a two-state solution, the long-term security of both Israelis and Palestinians will be threatened.”
Abdelhamid—who is running to represent New York’s 12th Congressional District, which includes portions of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens—continued:
Abdelhamid’s statement aligned with remarks from House Democrats during a Thursday night event about Palestinian human rights, the $3.8 billion in unconditional military aid the U.S. gives Israel each year, and this week’s bloodshed. Israeli authorities have confirmed eight deaths, including a soldier near Gaza and two children.
The hourlong event—which featured a powerful and personal speech from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, whose grandmother lives nears Jerusalem—was organized by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Marie Newman (D-Ill.).
After detailing the human rights abuses that Palestinians have faced for much of the past century, from being forced out of their homes and attacked at places of worship to the jailing of children and living conditions reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa, Pocan noted the significance of several lawmakers speaking out.
“Today we want to talk about the very long-term problems that have been for too long ignored by U.S. policies in the region,” Pocan said Thursday. “Fortunately, now, more and more members of Congress are wanting to address peace in this region in a more forthright way.”
The previous day, Pocan and Newman had led 23 other House Democrats in a letter that called on the Biden administration to pressure the Israeli government to “desist from its plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Al-Bustan and evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT