Keith Ellison calls on Israel to open Gaza's borders after flotilla bloodbath
Saying he's "deeply shocked and saddened" by an Israeli attack on Palestinian humanitarian activists in international waters that resulted in at least nine civilian deaths," U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison called for an investigation into how and why the attack occurred.
"Leaders on all sides should take immediate steps to ensure that this incident does not escalate into a broader round of violence in the region," he said in a statement late Tuesday. "I extend my condolences to the families of those killed and I wish a full and rapid recovery to all injured parties, including both participants on the flotilla and Israeli soldiers."
"This tragedy did not need to happen. This event is the result of the ongoing, counterproductive blockade on Gaza," he said. "The blockade punishes ordinary citizens, and strengthens Hamas' control over commerce. I am concerned for Israel's security and an undernourished and unemployed Gazan population does not promote this goal."
His statement stands in contrast to Rep. Michele Bachmann's reaction to the deadly attack today, which started off in a blog post as a general statement of support for Israel's actions, but later turned into an attack on President Barack Obama.
"While the world decries the actions of Israel, I think it's imperative that the United States stand strong with their ally. I support Israel's position to stop and inspect peace missions headed to Gaza for national security purposes and the U.S. should reiterate our support for Israel," she wrote.
"We have to ask if the Obama administration remains committed to the state of Israel and the right of Israel to exist and defend herself," Bachmann told Politico. "The Obama administration, through its word and its actions, has been sending the world mixed signals at best."
Ellison said that president should join international leaders in pushing for an end the blockade on Gaza.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.