McCarthy’s comments come amid some of the worst fighting in years. Back-and-forth armed strikes between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces have surged following weeks of tension in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and demonstrations by Arab communities.
The situation escalated in the wake of the potential eviction of Arab families from an East Jerusalem neighborhood, reigniting a sensitive issue in the region: land ownership.
In this April 22, 2021, file photo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCarthy stated his support for Israel in a statement Tuesday as unrest and violence continue to escalate in the region. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Other issues include Israeli efforts to block some Palestinian gatherings during the start of the holy month of Ramadan that began in mid-April. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Clashes over Jerusalem — one of the most contested cities on Earth which is home to holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — resulted in more than 30 Palestinian deaths Tuesday after Israel launched airstrikes targeting Hamas. The group, a designated terror organization, had launched rockets at several Israeli cities.
In a statement, McCarthy blamed Hamas, which governs Gaza, for the escalations.
“These rocket attacks confirm once again that there is no moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas,” he said. “Hamas seeks in no uncertain terms to destroy Israel and murder its people. They are a terrorist organization that feeds off conflict and hatred.”
The California congressman said that Hamas would “never accept peace” and “will sink to the lowest levels of inhumanity to promote violence, including attacking Israeli civilians and civilian targets and using Palestinian women and children as human shields.
McCarthy commended the Biden administration for condemning Hamas and affirming Israel’s right to self-defense. He also said Biden should stand with Israel at the United Nations and block all efforts by the Security Council to condemn its military actions.
Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Tuesday. The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and airstrikes into the territory continued almost nonstop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
He also urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to get involved.
“Congress, for its part, should maintain its bipartisan track record of providing security assistance to Israel: no restrictions on funding and no new conditions on aid,” he said. “And if additional needs arise, we should act on them without delay.”