Blinken testimony on Israel-Hamas conflict interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters
WASHINGTON — Protesters repeatedly interrupted Secretary of State on Tuesday as he delivered testimony to a Senate committee on the administration’s emergency funding request for Israel and Ukraine.
As Blinken sought to give opening remarks, the demonstrators called for a “cease-fire now” and accused the U.S. of supporting a “massacre” in Gaza, which has been under bombardment from Israel since Hamas launched a surprise attack on the nation in early October.
Victims of the assault were executed, bound and burned alive, and other bodies were found decapitated. Approximately 1,400 Israelis were killed and more than 200 people were kidnapped. Israel responded to the shocking attack with airstrikes in the Gaza Strip that the Hamas-run health ministry says have claimed the lives of 8,525 Palestinians.
“Save the children of Gaza,” an unidentified protester shouted. “Cease-fire now. Where is your pride in America.”
Another protester yelled, as he was led out of the room by security: “Stop the brutal massacre.”
The demonstrators, who appeared to be part of an organized group, raised their hands in the air, and held up several signs including one that said, “All the walls have got to go.”
Protesters also chanted in unison, “The group From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
Blinken eventually finished his testimony. Committee chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., suspended the hearing briefly, before Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin began his opening remarks, so Capitol Police could clear the room.
The interruptions were evidence of the challenges facing the Biden administration as it seeks congressional approval for a historic $106 billion aid package that provide support to Israel and Ukraine and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.