09:38 GMT25 July 2021
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    Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born former refugee and Democrat who currently represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, has been a harsh critic of Israel’s attacks on “Palestinian children” during recent round of violence between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called congresswoman Ilhran Omar “shallow and simplistic” over her recent comments drawing parallels between Israel, the US, Afghanistan, Hamas and the Taliban.

    Omar tweeted on 7 June that the US “must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity".

    She raised a similar point during a House committee hearing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Omar asked Blinken where victims of “atrocities” committed by the aforementioned actors should go if the US opposes war crime investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her comment caused an outrage, prompting three Republican members to file a resolution on 14 June condemning Omar’s “open defence” of terrorist attacks by Hamas.

    Olmert, who served as Israeli prime minister between 2006-2009, said that he was not impressed by the congresswoman’s “vicious and completely unacceptable” statements.

    “She's ignorant, she is simplistic, she is shallow to be able to say that - and she is completely obsessed with her biases because of her religion, she needs to identify with the Palestinians, the Arabs,” Olmert said on the Rita Cosby radio show on Tuesday.

    According to the former prime minister, he was “a big opponent of Netanyahu and his policies” but it was wrong to draw comparisons between Israel and “a terrorist organisation which is shooting at civilians and cities of Israel on a continuous basis for years”.

    © AP Photo / Jim Mone
    Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, (D-Minn) consoles Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) as she talk about Israel's refusal to allow them to visit the country during a news conference Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn.

    “We tried during the last encounter with Hamas to hit only specific positions which were named by Hamas terrorists,” Olmert said in relation to a recent wave of violence between Israel and Hamas militants that ended with a ceasefire in May. “We may have made a mistake - if it happened, it was contrary to our policies and plans. While Hamas is shooting continuously at our cities. So there is no such comparison.”

    “It is sad that a congresswoman of the United States can be so shallow and simplistic. But you have 435 congressmen, so some sometimes can be unworthy,” the former prime minister added.

    Ilhan Omar is one of the ‘founding’ members of the ‘Squad’, a group of progressive lawmakers, alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who have been harshly criticising the “apartheid” state of Israel on their social media, while condemning anti-Semitic sentiment that has swamped the US in recent weeks, protesting Israeli’s actions in Gaza.

    On Tuesday night, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) hit new targets in Gaza Strip, less than a month after it reached a ceasefire with Hamas that ended 11 days of rocket attacks in May. According to the IDF, the new airstrikes came in response to incendiary balloons launched into Israeli territory and targeted “terrorist activity” in Gaza.

    Tags:
    Ilhan Omar, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, United States
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