Leading Democrats demand Washington stops Israel's East Jerusalem violence and evictions

Leading Democrats demand Washington stops Israel's East Jerusalem violence and evictions
Several US Democratic politicians have condemned Israel's campaign to evict Palestinians from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and called for decisive action from the Biden administration.
3 min read
09 May, 2021
The Biden administration has refused to explicitly condemn Israel's actions [Getty]
Several US Democratic lawmakers have condemned Israel's ongoing push to evict Palestinians from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, calling on the Biden administration to put pressure on the Israeli government to halt its actions.

Among those voicing their denunciations of Israel’s actions were Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen and Chris Murphy.

"The United States must speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward," Sanders tweeted on Saturday.

"The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable," Warren tweeted. “The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.”

Chris Murphy, who is chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, voiced his concerns over Israel's recent violent actions.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured since Friday as Israeli forces attacked worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and suppressed protests held in soldarity with families in Sheikh Jarrah.

"Evictions of Palestinian residents, who have lived in homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah for a generation, are unjustified and must stop," Haaretz quoted the Connecticut senator as saying.

He also denounced "the Israeli forces’ militarized approach to this unrest, which is escalating, rather than deescalating, the situation."

Members of Congress Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andy Levin, Pramila Jayapal and Chris Van Hollen also condemned Israel's recent actions.

Tlaib, a representative from Michigan who is of Palestinian descent, ran a petition on Thursday calling on the Biden administration to "uphold international law and demand an end to Israel's illegal evictions of Palestinians, demolitions of Palestinian homes, and theft of Palestinian land".

The statement was shared by Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken Democrat member of Congress from New York. 

Ocasio-Cortez said that what was happening in Sheikh Jarrah was "inhumane" and called for the US to show leadership in safeguarding human rights.

Chris Van Hollen, a senator from Maryland, said that the Biden administration had to take a stronger stand on Israel's threatened eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah.

"Evictions of families in East Jerusalem would violate international law," he tweeted on Saturday. "If the Biden Administration puts the rule of law and human rights at the heart of its foreign policy, this is not a moment for tepid statements.”

This followed criticism towards the Biden administration after it refused to explicitly condemn Israel’s actions, and instead released a statement Friday evening which merely called on "both sides to exercise decisive leadership.”

"We call on Israeli and Palestinian officials to act decisively to deescalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence," Secretary of State spokesperson Ned Price said.

Marie Newman and Mark Pocan, two Democrat congressmen, have sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling the eviction plans “a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Haaretz reported.

Both demanded an investigation into whether Israel’s actions violate two US laws that entail that American weapons can only be sold for legitimate self-defence purposes, and that foreign military support to states suspected of human rights abuses should be withheld.

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