Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has urged US lawmakers to condition aid to Israel as Palestinians are “being killed as the world watches”.
Tlaib said she was “a reminder to Congress that Palestinians do indeed exist, and we are human”, during a speech on the House floor.
“And colleagues,” she continued, “Palestinians aren’t going anywhere no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government”.
Israel is the recipient of over $3billion in annual US military aid.
Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum is one of several Congress members also pushing for conditions on aid to Israel, arguing that the current setup is contributing to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
“It is our duty to end the apartheid system that for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhumane treatment and racism,” Tlaib said.
Palestinians are “still suffering, still being dispossessed, still being killed as the world watches and does nothing,” she added.
Tlaib also took shot at US President Joe Biden, who has faced increased criticism after saying that Israel has “a right to defend itself” against rockets from Hamas, without mentioning Palestinian suffering.
“To read the statements… you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all,” Tlaib said, adding that “there has been no recognition” of the forced expulsions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah or of “Al-Aqsa being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke while people pray”.
“No child, Palestinian or Israeli, whoever they are, should ever have to worry that death will rain from the sky. How many of my colleagues are willing to say the same, to stand for Palestinian human rights as they do for Israeli?” Tlaib said.
“How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to matter?” she added.
Several fellow Democrats also spoke out to highlight the brutality faced by Palestinians.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said that “as a Black woman in America, I am no stranger to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence”, and pointed to the “grave asymmetry of power” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Similarly, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the US to “acknowledge its role in the injustice and human rights violations of Palestinians…[it is] not about both sides; this is about balance of power”, while Congresswoman Ilhan Omar accused the White House of “siding with an oppressive occupation”.
Fellow Democrat lawmaker Cori Bush also weighed in, saying that if Congress “is looking for something productive to do” with billions in aid money, it should spend funds on Americans in need.
“I have some communities in St. Louis County where that money can go,” Bush said.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle