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US congressman 'inciting violence' and stirring wide outrage, say experts

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-22 19:08

A US congressman who said "we should kill 'em all" in response to activists who questioned the use of American taxpayers' money being used to bomb children in Gaza of Palestine, could be classified as inciting violence, experts said.

The exchange between Representative Andy Ogles of Tennessee, from the Republican Party, and the pro-Palestinian protesters were caught in a now-viral clip that was said to have taken place last week. It has garnered widespread condemnation from netizens.

"This is very clearly inciting violence. If the US has fair judicial system, this Congressman must be brought to justice. He clearly calls for genocide," Abdalfatah Asqool, an international law lecturer at the University of Palestine, told China Daily.

"By using the statement 'we should kill 'em all' – and using 'we' by this official – means that the US is directly engaged in the crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip," he added.

The congressman's remarks prompted the Nashville-based American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to issue a statement which "unequivocally" denounced Ogles, saying his actions were tantamount to advocating for "the extermination of the Palestinian people".

The AMAC statement also said that such rhetoric was "not only abhorrent" but "also antithetical to our values as a state" and that such rhetoric has continued to foster a political climate where extremist ideologies flourish, "empowering neo-Nazis to openly parade through our streets and allowing genocidal sentiments to go unchallenged".

"This cannot be tolerated any longer. As citizens of Tennessee, we deserve better representation from those elected to office," the statement read.

Ayman Yousef, a professor of international relations at the Arab American University in Jenin in the West Bank, told China Daily that Ogles' statement did not come as a surprise, especially "when it comes from (someone in) the Republican Congress".

Ogles shows "they support Israel from all fronts – economic, political, social – so it is part of overall political and electoral competition," said Yousef.

The US is on the verge of going to elections for the presidency. "So both parties – the congressmen affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans – are trying to lean (toward) or attract the attention of Israel," he added.

In response to the viral clip and uproar, Ogles issued a statement on his verified Facebook page, noting that on Oct 7 Hamas committed atrocities "that are beyond normal comprehension and a manifestation of evil here on earth".

"I was clearly referencing Hamas terrorists during the exchange. Democrats and leftist media, who appear incapable of categorically denouncing the events of October 7th, are desperately attempting to shift blame," said Ogles.

Meanwhile, on Feb 19, the United Nations' child agency UNICEF warned a steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in the Gaza Strip poses grave threats to their health, as it released a report "Nutrition Vulnerability and Situation Analysis – Gaza".

"The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza," said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations, Ted Chaiban.

The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,313, with 69,333 others wounded, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry on Feb 21.

Israel launched a large-scale military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate a Hamas rampage in southern Israel on Oct 7 last year during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage. It has threatened to launch ground attacks against Rafah, which is packed with more than 1 million homeless refugees who are struggling for mere survival.


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