The congressional reaction this week to Israel’s recent and deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed to Gaza has, for the most part, fit neatly into three camps:
The congressional reaction this week to Israel’s recent and deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed to Gaza has, for the most part, fit neatly into three camps: Most lawmakers have either (1) said nothing, (2) called cautiously for an investigation, or (3) staunchly defended Israel’s attack, despite the killing of a U.S. citizen.
Increasingly, though, a fourth camp is emerging — one that’s criticizing Israel for attacking a Turkish-flagged vessel in international waters (and also questioning America’s support for the Israeli blockade of Gaza). Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was the first to step into this thorny territory, circulating a letter to President Obama Wednesday arguing that Israel’s right to self defense “does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases.”
And yesterday, GOP Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a libertarian who thinks the U.S. has no business in most international affairs, also blasted Israel’s actions, telling radio host Don Imus that the blockade of Gaza is “atrocious” and America’s support of it makes us “morally responsible.”
“Preventing goods from going in, it’s actually an act of war,” Paul said. “It’s absolutely wrong to prevent people that are starving and having problems — that are almost like in concentration camps — [from receiving aid], and saying, ‘Yes, we endorse this whole concept.’
“I think it’s just terrible, and I don’t think we should be a part of it.”
There are signs that the White House is starting to feel the same way. In an interview with Larry King yesterday, President Obama spoke gingerly of the need to investigate the incident before drawing sweeping conclusions. “But,” he added, “it’s not premature to say to the Israelis and to say to the Palestinians, and to say to all the parties in the region that the status quo is unsustainable.
“We have been trying to do this piecemeal for decades now. It just doesn’t work.”
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