Washington (Caasimada Online) – Minnesota lawmaker Rep. Ilhan Omar has strongly condemned the recent Israeli settler rampage in the West Bank town of Hawara.
Omar has called for the United States to hold accountable those who violated international law during the incident. The attack torched dozens of cars and houses, causing the loss of innocent lives and injuries to over 100 people.
“This comes against the backdrop of massive settlement expansion and de facto annexation of the West Bank by the most right-wing Israeli government in history – moves that would erase any hope for a two-state solution,” Omar said in her most extensive comments on Israel-Palestine since being removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her previous comments concerning Israel.
Ilhan Omar’s past controversial remarks
In February 2019, Rep. Omar faced significant criticism when she tweeted that support for Israel among U.S. lawmakers was “all about the Benjamins.”
The remarks drew strong condemnations from both sides of the political aisle, leading Omar to apologize unequivocally for her comments and acknowledge the painful history of antisemitic tropes.
Despite the previous controversy, Rep. Omar co-sponsored a resolution with stalwart pro-Israel Democratic members of Congress shortly before the vote, “recognizing Israel as America’s legitimate and democratically and condemning antisemitism.”
Omar insisted that she would “continue to speak up because representation matters. I am here to stay, and I am here to be a voice for harms around the world and advocate for a better world.”
Ilhan Omar calls for accountability
Regarding the current state of affairs in the Middle East, Rep. Omar emphasized that “violence only begets violence. These violent outbursts have taken innocent Palestinian and Israeli lives and traumatized many,”
Omar said she was heartened by the pro-peace, pro-justice demonstrations of both Jewish and Arab-Palestinians across Israel right now.
Rep. Omar stressed that the Biden administration “must seek full accountability for any violations of international law and ensure that our own U.S. tax dollars are not funding human rights violations.”
“Putting human rights at the center of foreign policy and supporting a rules-based international order means demanding accountability for any violations, whether they are our allies or adversaries,” she added.
Rep. Omar’s comments represent the most extensive remarks on the settler rampage from a U.S. lawmaker, despite four congressional delegations visiting the region last week.
However, many of those present declined to comment on their visits or meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose far-right allies actively fomented anti-Arab racism immediately preceding the attacks.
Expectations for Israel to pursue full accountability
U.S. officials have said they expect Israel to pursue full accountability for the settlers responsible for the violence, with “equal rigor” as it does for Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis.
However, there are concerns that Israel may not hold the settlers accountable transparently and unbiasedly, which would only further exacerbate tensions in the region.
Background on Israeli settlements in the West Bank
The Israeli settlements in the West Bank have long been a contentious issue between Israel and the Palestinians.
The settlements are considered illegal under international law, as they are built on land occupied by Israel during the 1967 war, which is recognized as Palestinian territory under international law.
Despite this, Israel has continued expanding the settlements, increasing tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
The settlements are seen as a major obstacle to establishing a viable Palestinian state, as they fragment the West Bank and make it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to access their own land.
The recent Israeli settler rampage in the West Bank town of Hawara has further escalated regional tensions.
The incident is just one example of the ongoing violence and instability that plagues the area, with both sides blaming each other for the continued conflict.
US Influence in the region
The United States has historically been a critical player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with American aid and support playing a significant role in the region.
However, the current Biden administration has taken a more measured approach to the issue, with officials emphasizing the need for a two-state solution and a commitment to human rights.
Rep. Omar’s comments reflect the growing frustration among some lawmakers and activists over the region’s lack of progress toward peace.
The continued expansion of Israeli settlements and the violence and discrimination Palestinians face have led many to question the U.S. government’s support for Israel and its regional policies.
Despite these challenges, some remain committed to resolving the conflict peacefully.
Rep. Omar’s emphasis on the need for accountability and a commitment to human rights is an important step toward achieving that goal.
It remains to be seen how the situation will progress, but one thing is clear: the need for a just and lasting peace in the region has never been more urgent.