AOC’s Gaza Comments Spark Controversy – In the wake of a recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, has drawn both attention and criticism for her comments regarding the situation.
Amid what has been termed the worst massacre of Jews in nearly 80 years, AOC has shifted her focus to the suffering of the population under Hamas rule in Gaza.
What Did AOC Say?
Expressing her concerns, AOC urged Israel to refrain from defending itself and its citizens as tensions rise and the possibility of an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip looms.
Critics argue that Ocasio-Cortez’s sympathies are misplaced, contending that it is Hamas, not Israel, that has continually put Gaza’s civilian population in harm’s way. Hamas, a listed terror group in the United States, is accused of employing brutal tactics, endangering Gazan lives while aiming to manipulate Western observers and incite a particular response.
Fox News journalist Trey Yingst presented evidence suggesting that Hamas prevents people from leaving targeted buildings after being warned of impending airstrikes.
It has long been reported that Hamas actively encourages civilians to remain in areas they know will be targeted, deploying a strategy to use human shields against Israeli forces. This tactic has been employed in several wars between Hamas and Israel over the years, exacerbating the potential for civilian casualties.
Critics also highlight Hamas’s use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes, including weapon caches within and around civilian facilities, staging missile-launch sites near civilian areas, and using schools and mosques as cover for their operations. Such tactics are seen as deliberate attempts to maximize collateral damage during conflicts.
Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism extends to Israel’s decision to restrict water and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. She labels this move as “collective punishment” and a violation of international law. However, others argue that blockades are a common feature of conflicts and not violations of the laws of armed conflict.
Who Are Hamas?
Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political and militant organization that operates primarily in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada against Israel, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations due to its involvement in armed conflict, suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and other acts targeting civilians in Israel.
The group’s advocates for the destruction of the state of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the entire area of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Its founding charter included a slew of antisemitic canards, called for war against all Jews, and claimed that Jews profited from the Second World War.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.