Palestinians inspect houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes

Palestinians inspect houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 6, 2024.

(Photo: Khaled Omar/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Tlaib Says 'No Coincidence' Israel Invaded Rafah After Congress Approved More Military Aid

"For months, Netanyahu made his intent to invade Rafah clear, yet the majority of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to enable the massacre," said U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said Tuesday that the Israeli government's decision this week to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah was directly connected to American lawmakers' recent approval of billions of dollars in additional military aid.

"It's no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians—with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars," Tlaib (D-Mich.), the only Palestinian American in the U.S. Congress, said in a statement.

Tlaib was one of 37 House Democrats who voted against the foreign aid package that included military assistance for Israel, which has repeatedly used U.S. weaponry to commit atrocities in Gaza. U.S. President Joe Biden signed the package into law late last month.

Last week, Tlaib joined 56 fellow House Democrats in urging the Biden administration to suspend deliveries of offensive weapons that could be used in an Israeli assault on Rafah, which is currently home to more than half of Gaza's population—including around 600,000 children.

"Many of my colleagues are going to express concern and horror at the crimes against humanity that are about to unfold, even though they just voted to send Netanyahu billions more in weapons," Tlaib said Tuesday. "Do not be misled, they gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide. For months, Netanyahu made his intent to invade Rafah clear, yet the majority of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to enable the massacre."

Tlaib's statement came after Israeli forces, including ground troops and tanks, seized control of the Gaza side of Rafah's border crossing with Egypt, halting the delivery of critical humanitarian aid as the enclave's population starves.

A day earlier, Israel's military ordered more than 100,000 people in eastern Rafah to evacuate the area, a directive that aid organizations and experts condemned as a grave violation of international law.

Echoing humanitarians' warnings, Tlaib said Tuesday that "there is nowhere safe in Gaza" for displaced people to go and noted that "nearly 80% of the civilian infrastructure has been destroyed."

"There is no feasible evacuation plan, and the Israeli government is only trying to provide a false pretense of safety to try to maintain legal cover at the International Court of Justice," said the Michigan Democrat. "Netanyahu knows that he will only stay in power as long as the fighting continues. It is now more apparent than ever that we must end all U.S. military funding for the Israeli apartheid regime, and demand that President Biden facilitate an immediate, permanent cease-fire that includes a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians."

Tlaib went on to demand that the International Criminal Court (ICC)—which is tasked with investigating individuals for violations of international law—"swiftly issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and senior Israeli officials to finally hold them accountable for this genocide, as is obviously warranted by these well-documented violations of the Genocide Convention under international law."

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