A Palestinian demonstrator shouts during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border on May 14, 2018. (Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
The Trump administration’s response to the killings of dozens of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli soldiers was to fault the organizers of mass demonstrations by people who are living in nightmarish conditions on the Gaza Strip. While a White House spokesman claimed that “the responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” the man Donald Trump has charged with renewing the Middle East peace process, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, literally faulted protesters amid reports of the mass killing and wounding of Palestinian men, women, and children who were objecting to Israeli policies. “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Kushner claimed at a ceremony marking the opening of the new United States embassy in Jerusalem.
But responsible members of Congress—many of them with long experience observing the Middle East—saw the circumstances more clearly, and responded in more realistic terms.
“This is horrific.”
— Barbara Lee on the killings of Palestinians this Monday
Noting the juxtaposition of the embassy opening and the killings, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted: “This is horrific. My prayers are with those killed & injured in Gaza. The U.S. should be laying the groundwork for peace—not fueling conflict in the region with an unnecessary & counterproductive embassy move.”
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) decried the “occupation and oppression of Palestinians” and wrote that Trump-administration policies “are fueling conflict, abandoning diplomatic efforts to achieve peace.”