Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. accused Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) of “stoking tensions” with her recent comments about the conflict between Israel and Palestinians and suggested her words “encourage terror groups such as Hamas” to “carry out attacks against Jews.”
“Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib maybe you should open your eyes to the whole picture? Islam’s 3rd holiest site is being used to stockpile Molotov cocktails and rocks that are being lobbed at the police and at Jewish worshippers praying at the Western Wall, below the Temple Mount,” ambassador Gilad Erdan wrote in a tweet on Monday.
“Congresswoman, instead of calling for peace and calm, your tweets are the stoking tensions,” Erdan added in another post. “Maybe you don’t realize that your words encourage terror groups such as Hamas to fire rockets into civilian populations and carry out attacks against Jews.”
Erdan was responding to Tlaib’s earlier tweets in which she criticized the Jewish state over violent encounters between Israeli police and Palestinians last week at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
“I was 7 years old when I first prayed at the Al Aqsa with my sity. It’s a sacred site for Muslims. This is equivalent to attacking the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, or the Temple Mount for Jews. Israel attacks it during Ramadan. Where’s the outrage @POTUS?” wrote Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress.
“American taxpayer money is being used to commit human rights violations. Congress must condition the aid we send to Israel, and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed. Statements aren’t working @SecBlinken. Enough is enough,” she wrote in another tweet directed at U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces declared that the country “is under attack” and called on 5,000 reserve soldiers to aid its defense against rockets from Gaza.
One day earlier, 26 Palestinians, including nine children, were killed in Gaza, mostly by Israeli airstrikes, according to Gaza health officials. The IDF said at least 16 of those killed were militants. During that time, Gaza militants fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, killing two Israeli civilians and wounding ten others.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Biden administration has “serious concerns” regarding the situation.
A readout from a call between national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Israel national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat noted that Sullivan had “highlighted recent engagements by senior U.S. officials with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials and key regional stakeholders to press for steps to ensure calm, deescalate tensions, and denounce violence.”
“Mr. Sullivan also reiterated the United States’ serious concerns about the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” the readout added. “They agreed that the launching of rocket attacks and incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel is unacceptable and must be condemned.”