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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed over the weekend that children are being put in cages by Israelis in the West Bank, as she said the media ‘censors’ Palestinian concerns.
In Austin, Texas to rally support for progressive House candidates Greg Casar and Jessica Cisneros, the New York Democrat was heckled by a pro-Palestinian protester as she was promoting the Green New Deal.
‘With media, with all this stuff, Palestine is basically a banned word. It’s censored. We don’t talk about it. No one knows about it,’ she said. ‘Thank you for bringing it up, honestly, because we shouldn’t have to tiptoe around these things. We should be able to talk about it. And we shouldn’t allow people’s humanity to be censored.’
She pushed back on charges of anti-semitism leveled against some of Israel’s biggest critics in the House, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
‘Believing in the basic human dignity and the ability for a person to not be jailed or beaten for who they are, it does not mean that you are bigoted against any other community,’ she said, according to Jewish Insider. ‘And we gotta call that for what it is.’
She compared the treatment of Palestinians by Israelis in the West Bank to treatment of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Monitored by a caretaker young unaccompanied migrants, ages 3-9, watch TV inside a playpen at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley in Donna, Texas, USA, 30 March 2021.
Young migrants lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention centre for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 30
More than 4,000 migrants are crammed into pods in the tent structure in Donna, Texas, which is said to be at 1,700 per cent capacity on March 30
Palestinian woman reacts as Israeli machinery demolish her house, in the West Bank city of Hebron, on Feb. 15
Israeli forces try to disperse Palestinian residents as a Palestinian building, located in Zif village, is demolished by Israel allegedly for being “unlicensed”, in Hebron, West Bank on February 15,
Palestinians check the rubble after the Israeli Army demolishes a house that belongs to a Palestinian called Mahmoud Jaradat in the West Bank Village of Silat Al-Harithiya near Janin, 14 February
‘I don’t believe that a child should be in a cage on our border and I don’t believe a child should be in a cage in the West Bank.’
Ocasio-Cortez did not provide examples of children being locked in cages in the West Bank.
Israel has, however, constructed a controversial wall in the West Bank that has cut into Palestinian territory and displaced Palestinians from the fertile land they used to grow crops on. Israel has said the wall is necessary for security, though encourages Israelis to settle on both sides of the wall.
In May the congresswoman made a similar comparison. Ocasio-Cortez said that Americans ‘are scared to stand up to the incarceration of children in Palestine because maybe it’ll force us to confront the incarceration of children here on our border,’ she said on the House floor on May 14.
The area at the time was experiencing some of its worst violence since 2014, and Joe Biden had asserted Israel’s right to defend itself.
‘The president stated that Israel has a right to self-defense. Do Palestinians have a right to survive?’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
Last fall the Biden administration issued its most forceful public condemnation of Israel’s West Bank settlements yet on Tuesday, when State Department spokesman Ned Price compared them to ‘illegal outposts’ in remarks to reporters.
Price said the US government will ‘strongly oppose’ such expansion on occupied Palestinian land.
The Biden official’s criticism was some of the strongest in years on Israel after previous leader Donald Trump gave his blessing to settlements and annexations.
‘We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to advance thousands of settlement units,’ Price said at a State Department briefing.
‘We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution,’ he said.
‘We also view plans for the retroactive legalization of illegal outposts as unacceptable.
The housing and construction ministry under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a right-winger close to the settlement movement who leads a coalition with centrists, announced then tenders for 1,355 homes in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Authorities are also expected to discuss proposals for an additional 3,000 homes on land Palestinians have claimed for their future state, Reuters reported.
US-facilitated negotiations between Israel and Palestinian authorities fell apart in 2014.
In December, an Ocasio-Cortez staffer, legislative assistant Hussain Altamimi, came under fire for calling Israel a ‘racist European ethnostate built on stolen land’ in an Instagram story.
In September, the congresswoman dramatically burst into tears as she changed her vote from ‘no’ to ‘present’ to provide $1 billion in U.S. funding to replenish the Iron Dome.
She clarified that her vote did not mean she didn’t approve funding for the Dome, but that ‘opposing it would not defund U.S. financing of the system in any way, shape, or form.’
‘I believe strongly that Congress should take greater scrutiny with all military funding across the world. I also believe that, for far too long, the U.S. has handed unconditional aid to the Israeli government while doing nothing to address or raise the persistent human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, and that this imbalance of power must be centered in any honest conversation about Israel and Palestine – in addition to the many other government we militarily fund with a pattern of human rights abuses…’ she wrote.
She later apologized to her constituents for changing her vote.
‘To those I have disappointed — I am deeply sorry,’ she wrote to residents of New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. ‘To those who believe this reasoning is insufficient or cowardice — I understand.’