Ocasio-Cortez defends accusing Israel of genocide in her speech

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday defended Israel’s accusation of genocide against the Palestinian people and advocating for cuts in U.S. military aid until humanitarian aid flows freely in Gaza.

His decision to use the term genocide, as he did during a speech Friday in the House of Representatives, was “made with extraordinary gravity,” he said.

While she has openly condemned the violence in Gaza amid Israel’s war against Hamas, Ocasio-Cortez has typically been cautious about labeling Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as genocide, a distinction that is in line with her bias. to use more conciliatory rhetoric with Israel than some of its ideological allies.

But the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has “crossed the threshold of intent,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“As we speak, right now, 1.1 million innocent people in Gaza are on the brink of famine,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her speech on Friday. “A famine that is being intentionally precipitated through the blockade of food and global humanitarian assistance by Israeli government leaders.

“If you want to know what a genocide in the making looks like,” the New York Democrat added, “open your eyes.”

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 32,000 people in the coastal enclave have died since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

Gaza’s 2.2 million people do not have enough food to eat, and half of the population on the brink of famine is expected to arrive in the north “any time between mid-March and May 2024,” according to Phase Integrated Food Safety. Classification.

“I think what we’re seeing here with forced starvation is beyond our ability to deny or explain,” Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper. “Hamas does not aim to precipitate a mass famine of a million people, half of whom are children.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, defending Israel’s charge of genocide against the Palestinian people. (CNN New Source)

His comments come as the Biden administration is hardening its stance ahead of key meetings this week between US and Israeli officials.

Vice President Kamala Harris said Sunday that the United States would not rule out consequences for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government if it goes ahead with a military offensive in Rafah, where more than a million people are crammed into a sprawling tent city. campaign, and described such a decision. as a “mistake”.

“We have made clear in multiple conversations and in every way that any major military operation in Rafah would be a big mistake. Let me tell you something, I have studied the maps. Those people have nowhere to go,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Harris’ comments come as national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meet at the White House on Monday. They are expected to focus on continued efforts to free the remaining hostages held by Hamas and the urgent need for more humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza.

Based on recent negotiations, Israel accepted a “bridge proposal” from the United States on the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released for each hostage held by Hamas, and delegations are now awaiting a response from Hamas, the analyst said on Saturday. CNN Barak Ravid. , citing an unnamed senior Israeli official.

A diplomatic source briefed on the matter confirmed to CNN the accuracy of the information, but said there are still outstanding issues, including the influx of aid and “Israeli military repositioning” in Gaza.

The meeting between Sullivan and Gallant, a White House official told CNN, is different from the previously reported visit between Israeli officials and US officials also scheduled for this week, in which the two countries are likely to discuss alternatives to an offensive. land in Rafah.

Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper on Sunday that she does not agree with the Israeli government restricting the flow of food and aid until Hamas releases the hostages and lays down its weapons.

“We are talking about famine,” he said. “Hamas’ actions should not be tied to whether a 3-year-old child can eat. Hamas’ actions do not justify forcing thousands, hundreds of thousands of people to eat grass while their bodies waste away. We and the Israeli government have the right to persecute Hamas.

“But we are talking about a population of millions of innocent Palestinians. We are talking about collective punishment, which is unjustifiable,” he concluded.

CNN’s Becky Anderson contributed to this report.

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