(CNSNews.com) – Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian American activist and Women’s March leader facing accusations of anti-Semitism, suggested on Tuesday that the firing of hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel was a legitimate response to an earlier firefight between Hamas gunmen and undercover Israeli troops.
The firefight in the southern Gaza Strip cost the lives of a senior Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officer and seven of the Palestinians, including a terrorist commander.
Terrorists in Gaza then fired more than 450 rockets into Israel, killing an Israeli and injuring dozens more, prompting retaliatory airstrikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets.
In a comment posted on social media, Sarsour implied that the “people of Gaza” had little choice but to hit back with rockets after the seven gunmen were killed.
“What are the people of Gaza supposed to do?” Sarsour asked. “Roll on their sides, continue to accept this aggression, an open air prison, and this siege that has strangled an entire people? When is enough – ENOUGH?”
Earlier the IDF said that the blown operation had been an intelligence mission designed to “strengthen Israel’s security,” and not an operation to kill or capture terrorists.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing control during violent clashes with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. A year earlier it had won legislative elections in the coastal strip, which borders southern Israel and Egypt.
Egypt was attempting Tuesday to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The Islamist group is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization whose founding charter calls for raising “the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine,” implying an end to the Jewish state of Israel.
Sarsour’s criticism of Israel and association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan were among issues cited in a decision by a liberal German foundation to cancel plans to present the Women’s March organizers with its annual human rights award this week.
During an Election Day broadcast of the left-wing news program Democracy Now last week, Sarsour was asked her view on the thinking of her critics.
“What is the strategy that – because you’re on the receiving end of it – that you’ve sort of interpreted as being waged against you or weaponized against you?” a panelist asked her.
After joking that she is seen by some as “the Muslim counterpart to George Soros,” Sarsour described herself as “somebody that represents everything neo-Nazis and, kind of, the right-wing stands against – you know, a multicultural, racial-justice, progressive Muslim woman in a hijab who’s Palestinian, who’s a critic of the state of Israel.”
Sarsour said she has a track record of two decades of human rights and social justice work.
In the view of her critics, she said, “I have become a symbol.”
“I am the, you know, symbol of the resistance.”