Two top Democratic senators have called on the Israeli government to show restraint in its response to Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Thursday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a presidential aspirant and 2016 presidential nominee, respectively, voiced concern about the number of casualties in confrontations between Palestinians and the IDF at the border in recent days.
“I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren told the online news site The Intercept on Wednesday, which was subsequently posted Thursday.
“As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest,” she said.
Late last month Sanders lamented the killing of the protesters as “tragic” in a tweet on the matter.
Three other members of Congress, all Democrats, have expressed similar concerns in public, including Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota; and Rep. Barbara Lee of California, according to The Intercept.
They join the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the U.N. Secretary General, António Guterres, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell, and the Israeli rights group, B’Tselem.
Israel has defended its handling of the disorders, saying that force is used only to prevent Hamas terrorists and violent rioters from damaging the security fence, attacking IDF soldiers or attempting to infiltrate into Israel. It further accuses Hamas of using supposedly “peaceful” demonstrations as a cover for violent acts.