06:50 GMT18 June 2021
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    The news comes as members of the so-called progressive Democratic group known as the "Squad" continue to denounce Israel in the ongoing conflict. They also criticized US President Joe Biden's Wednesday speech in support of Israel, accusing him of siding with "the occupation," and slammed Israel's retaliation as an "act of terrorism."

    As the brutal conflict in the Middle East worsens, US Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) is leading an initiative in the US House of Representatives to condemn "acts of terrorism" done by Hamas and to increase support for Israel's citizens, Fox News reported on Thursday.

    "Israel has every right to defend itself and defend its citizens," Gimenez is quoted in the report as saying. "I don't know of an instance where there's outright aggression from the state of Israel that was done without provocation."

    The Florida representative expressed a belief that members of the informal group of Democratic lawmakers "are out of touch with America."

    "They think that they speak for America and they don't," he added.

    "I'm trying to make sure that Congress stands up," Gimenez continued. "You need to be counted. Who do you stand with? Do you stand with the terrorists of Hamas, or do you stand with the state of Israel? That's another reason why we want to put this resolution forward."

    Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021
    Hatem Moussa
    Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021
    Moreover, the representative's resolution suggests that the US should recognize Jerusalem as "the legitimate capital city of the State of Israel."

    Gimenez reportedly said he agrees with Biden's remarks in favor of Israel and believes the Biden administration does not need to do anything to help at this time. On Wednesday, the US president said that "Israel has the right to defend itself, when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."

    "The verbal affirmation of their right to self-defense is a step in the right direction," Gimenez said. "I don't think they need to go further at this point unless the situation gets even [worse]."

    On the same day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressed support for Israel, drawing a distinction between the Palestinian people and Hamas' actions.

    "Hamas is threatening the security of the people in Israel," she said. "Israel has a right to defend itself."

    At the moment, according to the outlet, no Democrats have endorsed Gimenez's bill, but the representative is hopeful that this will change.

    Rockets are launched from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, in response to an Israeli air strike on a 12-storey building in the city, towards the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021.
    © AFP 2021 / ANAS BABA
    Rockets are launched from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, in response to an Israeli air strike on a 12-storey building in the city, towards the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021.
    In early April, the Biden administration re-authorized the provision of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority under the United Nations program for Palestinian refugees, repealing an order of the previous administration.

    Israel's conflict with the Palestinian Gaza Strip abruptly escalated on Thursday, with the Israel Defense Forces announcing a military operation against Palestinian fighters that included both air and ground forces. 

    Shortly after, reports emerged in the media that Israeli military vehicles crossed the border with Gaza, and that a ground incursion was being planned. However, sources within the Israeli security forces later told Sputnik that Israeli troops did not cross the border with Gaza, underscoring that ground forces are remotely firing at targets in the enclave.

    Over the course of almost 4 days, Palestinian armed groups have fired a barrage of missiles into Israel, with the overall tally heading to almost 2,000 rockets. At the same time, Israel has pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and shells, killing at least 109 people, according to the enclave's health ministry. The Jewish state also reportedly called up 9,000 more reservists.

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    Israel, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian territories, Palestinian Authority, Palestinians, Hamas leaders, Hamas, republicans, GOP, House GOP, USA, US
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