House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for a “ceasefire in the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas” in a statement on Tuesday, going a step further than President Joe Biden but still not mentioning the over 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in recent days.
Calling Israel “our friend and ally in the Middle East,” Pelosi echoed Biden’s previous stance that Israel “has a right to defend” itself, condemning the thousands of rockets from Hamas, which “exploited a volatile situation to initiate hostilities against Israel.”
“Now, after more than a week of hostilities, it has become even more apparent that a ceasefire is necessary,” Pelosi wrote, calling for both Israel and Hamas to “end the violence” and for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “strive for peace through a negotiated two-state solution.”
In the statement, Pelosi made no mention of the events that preceded the rockets from Hamas and the airstrikes from Israel last week: the planned eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, which led to protests, and Israeli police’s crackdown on protesters that injured worshippers and unleashed tear gas in Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.
Since last Monday, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israeli cities, killing at least 10 people, including a child, according to the Israeli army. Israel has killed 212 Palestinians through its repeated strikes into Gaza, including 61 children; as well as 15 people in the West Bank, local officials say.
Earlier this week, over two dozen senators, largely Democrats, called for a cease-fire in the conflict “to prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict.”
On Monday, Biden “expressed his support” for a cease-fire in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a readout from the White House. In the call, Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself” and “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.”
Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is Palestinian American, took to the House floor along with other progressive Democrats and condemned how Palestinians are “being killed as the world watches,” as well as U.S. leaders’ failure to acknowledge Palestinians’ suffering at the hands of Israel.
“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 asked in an impassioned speech. “How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to matter?”