(CNSNews.com) – Responding to news coverage of the firing of hundreds of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted Sunday, “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free?”
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been retaliating to the attacks – which as of Sunday night are reported to have killed four Israeli civilians – by launching airstrikes on terrorist targets in the Hamas-controlled territory.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American, was criticizing media “framing” of the developing story, specifically in regard to who was to blame for the escalation.
“When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free?” she asked. “Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families.”
She pointed to a New York Times headline reading, “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds With Airstrikes.”
Tlaib retweeted a post from a pro-Palestinian activist who called the headline “stunningly irresponsible and misleading,” and called into question the implication that the rocket fire triggered the escalation.
The original poster, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights executive director Yousef Munayyer, claimed that the actual spark for the upsurge was the killing of four Palestinians in Gaza on Friday.
(What Munayyer didn’t say was that two of those killed were Hamas terrorists targeted after Palestinian gunfire from southern Gaza wounded two Israeli soldiers. The other two were protestors among an estimated 5,000 Palestinians who amassed along the border.)
By the end of Sunday the number of rockets fired into Israel by Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists in Gaza had reached around 600, according to the IDF, which said it launched retaliatory airstrikes on 320 targets in Gaza.
Egyptian officials were engaged overnight in efforts to secure a ceasefire, although air raid sirens in southern Israel were still wailing early Monday, signaling incoming fire.
A Gaza-based “joint command” of Palestinian terror groups said early Monday they would continue firing rockets “until the occupation responds affirmatively to our people’s demands,” the Times of Israel reported.
‘This is terrible’
The Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted more than 150 of the projectiles, the IDF said earlier.
According to medical services cited by Israeli news media, four Israeli civilians were reported to have been killed and dozens injured. One of those killed, a man in Ashdod described as a dual U.S. citizen, died of shrapnel injuries sustained while running to a bomb shelter.
Two men were killed in Ashkelon, one in a factory and one in his home, and another civilian was reported to have been killed when a projectile fired from Gaza struck a car inside Israel.
The IDF said targets it had hit in Gaza included terrorist weapons storage facilities, rocket launch sites, “terror tunnels” and observation control rooms. Also targeted were the offices of Hamas security services head, Twafiq Abu Naim, and a man named Hamed Ahmed Khudari, whom the IDF accused of transferring Iranian funds to Hamas and PIJ in Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority’s WAFA news agency, citing the Hamas’ “health ministry” in Gaza, was reporting late Sunday that 25 Palestinians had been killed over two days.
The same source claimed that a woman and her toddler were killed in an Israeli airstrike south of Gaza City; the IDF disputed that, saying the two were killed when an outgoing rocket fell short and landed inside the strip.
The PIJ in a statement named eight of its members “martyred” in Israeli strikes. The PIJ, which like Hamas is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, has been posting videos of its fighters preparing and firing rockets into Israel.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said the U.S. as of that stage could “validate” that more than 400 rockets had been fired into Israel.
“These rockets were fired with civilians around them in order to protect from return fire,” he said. “This is terrible. The Israelis have every right to protect the sovereignty of their nation, and I hope that we can return to the ceasefire that had been in place for weeks and had been holding significantly before this.”
A delegation of U.S. ambassadors visiting Israel issued a statement saying the rocket barrage demonstrated “a cynical readiness to risk the lives and futures of the people of Gaza as well as those of the Israeli people.”
“The sole aim of these terrorists is to kill, maim and terrorize citizens of Israel,” they said. “These actions by Hamas and Islamic Jihad are simply unconscionable. No other nation on Earth would tolerate this.”
The ambassadors – accredited to Israel, Germany, Portugal, France, Switzerland and the European Union, joined by special envoy for combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr – urged “all nations to call these actions out for what they are – terrorism pure and simple.”
PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused Israel of “targeting defenseless civilians” and charged that the Trump administration’s “blind and amoral support” for Israel was emboldening its “extreme and ruthless military assaults.”