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Ocasio-Cortez hits Biden for taking 'the side of occupation' in Mideast violence

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Wray suggests limits on FBI social media tracking a 'lesson learned' after Jan. 6 Puerto Rico's former governor stages a comeback MORE (D-N.Y.) criticized President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE for “taking the side of occupation” amid escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians in recent weeks.

Her comments came shortly after Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE.

“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” Biden said.

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Ocasio-Cortez said Biden's remarks do not recognize that the events that led to the latest round of rocket attacks dehumanize Palestinians and imply that “the U.S. will look the other way at human rights violations.”

“Blanket statements like these [with] little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence - namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa - dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions - which are condemnable - & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence. This is not neutral language. It takes a side - the side of occupation,” she continued.

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The escalating clashes in recent weeks between Israelis and Palestinians began following a court decision to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood and police restrictions on a popular gathering place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Over the weekend, Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque, injuring hundreds and sending worshippers fleeing. Hamas responded by firing a barrage of rockets into Israel earlier this week that at times overwhelmed the country's Iron Dome defense system. 

Al Jazeera reported that 56 Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed by Israeli airstrikes inside the Gaza Strip, and another 335 were injured. Six people in Israel were killed by Hamas, and about 100 have been injured.

The United States, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization, has dispatched its senior official for Israeli and Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, to Israel to aid in de-escalation efforts.