U.S. House Democrats Ask Israel, Gaza Protesters to Show Restraint

The 10 representatives ‘respect the Palestinians who are advocating for change through peaceful means’ but call on the demonstrators ‘to renounce the violence and inflammatory rhetoric expressed by Hamas’

Mourners react while the body of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein, who died after being shot by Israeli troops, is carried in Gaza, April 26, 2018.
Adel Hana / AP

A group of Democratic members of Congress released a statement Thursday calling on Israel and Palestinian protesters in Gaza to show restraint amid the violence on the Gaza border and ahead of the massive protests expected on May 15.

“We are deeply concerned by the violence and the tragic loss of life along the border of Gaza,” the 10 Democrats wrote. “As strong supporters of Israel and advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we respect Israel’s right to defend itself. However, short of a threat to human life, we call on the Israeli Defense Forces to immediately stop using deadly force against unarmed protestors.”

They added that “likewise, we respect the Palestinians who are advocating for change through peaceful means. However, we call on the Palestinian demonstrators to renounce the violence and inflammatory rhetoric expressed by Hamas.”

According to the 10 Democrats, “with demonstrations expected to last into May, we urge both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from any actions that would further escalate tensions and cause further bloodshed. Both the Israelis and Palestinians have a right to a just, safe, and secure future, which can only be achieved through diplomacy — not military action.”

The United Nations said Monday that 40 Palestinians had been killed and 5,511 wounded in the mass protests along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel since March 30. Israel has said it is trying to stop the fence from being breached.

On May 15 the Palestinians will be commemorating the Nakba (Catastrophe) – when more than 700,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence.

The 10 Democratic representatives are John Yarmuth (Kentucky), Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), David Price (North Carolina), Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), Barbara Lee (California), Steve Cohen (Tennessee), Peter Welch (Vermont), Gerry Connolly (Virginia) and Alan Lowenthal (California).