Israeli coalition reaches deal to oust Netanyahu, protests continue
CSIS Middle East program director Jon Alterman analyzes the conflict in Israel and the push to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman denounced Hamas’ rocket attacks, saying Monday that each of the 4,500 fired on Israel constituted a “war crime.”
“Hamas has fired 4,500 rockets into Israel for the sole purpose of killing as many civilians as possible. Every one of these rockets was a war crime,” Sherman told Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken was appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss his department’s 2022 budget – just weeks after another flare up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the hearing, Sherman emphasized the importance of Israel’s missile defense system, the Iron Dome, and asked how the Biden administration would work to replenish it after it had intercepted thousands of rockets.
Sherman told Blinken that Israel’s missile defense system “saved countless Israeli civilian lives and also, countless Palestinian lives by helping bring this fight to a more speedy conclusion.”
He added that “unfortunately, we won’t bring the criminals to international justice, but we can prevent those crimes in the future by replenishing [the] Iron Dome.”
Blinken told Sherman that the Biden administration was “committed” to “the Iron Dome’s replenishment.”
Sherman’s comments came as many Democrats, including fellow committee member Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticized Israeli attacks on Hamas in Gaza. In May, she said: “It would be appalling for the Biden administration to go through with $735 million in precision-guided weaponry to Netanyahu without any strings attached in the wake of escalating violence and attacks on civilians.”
In a tweet that month, she argued, “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians.”
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