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Harris Stepping Up: Amplifying Criticisms on Israel’s Conduct in Gaza

The recent escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas has pushed many global leaders to weigh in, having their say on the ongoing conflict. Not to be left out of this discourse, Vice President Kamala Harris of the United States has stepped into a more publicly critical role regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza. Since taking office, Harris has maintained a measured silence on international matters, leaving these discussions largely to President Joe Biden. However, the ongoing crisis in the Middle East seemingly spurred her to become more publicly vocal. Unlike many of her colleagues in Washington who are staunch supporters of Israel, Harris’s critique of Israel’s response to Hamas’s rocket attacks advocate for a more balanced approach to the US-Israel relationship, an unexpected turn in traditional U.S diplomacy. Harris made it clear that she condemns the rocket attacks by Hamas, which are undeniably jeopardizing the lives of innocent civilians. However, her criticism of Israel’s counterattacks, specifically focused on the high civilian casualty count, indicates her desire for a more proportionate and thoughtful response in Israel’s conduct of warfare. In her critique, Harris carefully navigates the fraught landscape of Middle East politics by not forgetting to express her support still for Israel, the long-time ally of the U.S, and its right to defend itself. By doing this, Harris is pragmatic and diplomatic, appealing to both Israel’s right to protection and Palestinian human rights, thus demonstrating the complex dynamics of U.S. policy on this issue. Furthermore, her public criticism of Israel draws a useful comparison to past stances by U.S administrations, which has been predominantly pro-Israel, sometimes even overlooking potential human rights violations. The criticism also strikes a stark contrast to the previous administration’s approach, which saw the U.S. relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, thereby fuelling tensions. Her stance underscores the growing divide within the Democratic Party, where progressive members are increasingly vocal in their criticism of Israel’s actions. Harris’s shift towards a more publicly critical stance of Israel’s role signifies her alignment with the party’s younger, more liberal members, who are pushing for a more nuanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Harris’s critical stance has also drawn widespread backlash from conservative politicians who advocate for an unwavering support for Israel and critique the Biden administration for not being forceful enough in demonstrating this backing. It’s a precarious position for Harris, wherein her thoughtful critique of Israel draws ire at home. Between standing by a traditional ally and voicing concerns for escalated violence and

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