Pressed repeatedly by reporters during a briefing on Monday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price refused to condemn Israel\u0026#039;s killing of children with airstrikes on Gaza, offering evasive and mealy-mouthed responses that members of Congress slammed as unacceptable.\u0022We cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel\u0026#039;s state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians—including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors, and the murder of Palestinian children.\u0022 —Rep. Mark PocanAsked straightforwardly whether he condemns the killing of Palestinian children, Price replied that the Biden administration does not \u0022have independent confirmation of facts on the ground yet\u0022 and is \u0022hesitant to get into reports that are just emerging.\u0022\u0022Obviously, the deaths of civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinians, are something we would take very seriously,\u0022 added Price.Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted late Monday that \u0022this unsurprising response is devoid of empathy and concern for human suffering.\u0022\u0022He can\u0026#039;t even condemn the killing of children,\u0022 Omar added.Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst, called Price\u0026#039;s remarks \u0022spineless.\u0022Reporters press US State Department on Palestinian right to self-defence #EastJerusalem#AlAqsa pic.twitter.com/U3cmK54TRM— The National (@TheNationalNews) May 10, 2021According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israel\u0026#039;s airstrikes in Gaza on Monday killed 24 people, including nine children. Israel claimed it was targeting \u0022Hamas operatives\u0022 and said the airstrikes were retaliation for rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, which reportedly caused several injuries.Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket attack in Jerusalem, where Israeli security forces injured more than 300 Palestinians earlier Monday in an assault on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam\u0026#039;s third-holiest site.At the start of Monday\u0026#039;s briefing, Price stressed \u0022Israel\u0026#039;s legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory.\u0022 But asked whether Palestinians have the same right, Price quickly reverted to defending the broad principle of self-defense while refusing to answer the question.\u0022It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives.\u0022 —Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and André Carson\u0022We believe in the concept of self-defense,\u0022 said Price. \u0022We believe it applies to any state.\u0022Given that Palestinians are a stateless people living under Israeli military occupation, they would not have a right to self-defense under Price\u0026#039;s standard, as Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pointed out.\u0022Are you saying the Palestinians don\u0026#039;t have a right to self-defense?\u0022 Lee asked, to which Price replied, \u0022I was making a broader point not attached to Israel or the Palestinians in that case... I\u0026#039;m not in a position to debate the legalities from up here.\u0022Following the State Department press briefing, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) tweeted that \u0022we cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel\u0026#039;s state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians—including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors, and the murder of Palestinian children.\u0022\u0022U.S. aid should not be funding this violence,\u0022 Pocan added.Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) sent a similar message in a joint statement issued Monday, declaring, \u0022We are horrified by the violent assault by Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the continued violent attacks on the Palestinian people during the holy month of Ramadan.\u0022We continue to provide the Israeli government with over $3 billion in military aid every year—with no conditions or accountability for wanton human rights abuses and continuing illegal seizures of Palestinian land,\u0022 the lawmakers continued. \u0022For decades, we have paid lip service to a Palestinian state, while land seizures, settlement expansion, and forced displacement continue, making a future home for Palestinians more and more out of reach.\u0022\u0022It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives,\u0022 the trio said.