EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Two House members representing El Paso in the U.S. Congress on Thursday called for action in response to the armed conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling on President Joe Biden to revoke the visas of foreign nationals who endorse or support activity by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
“Hamas attacks have claimed 30 American lives and more of our own are missing,” Gonzales said. “Any foreign national supporting Hamas or other terrorist organizations should have their visa terminated.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, filed a similar resolution in the Senate. “It is a blessing to live in America and any individual that is promoting Hamas should have that privilege revoked.”
Gaza-based Hamas fired at least 3,000 rockets into Israel on Oct. 7 while its operatives came across the border to murder hundreds and abduct an estimated 200 people, including children, women and the elderly.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, emphasized that almost two weeks after the attack there is a need for calm and called for a cease-fire.
“It is important for me to say I unequivocally condemn the horrific attack by Hamas against innocent civilians in Israel,” Escobar said in a Zoom call with reporters. “It was not just Israelis who were slaughtered and kidnapped, but people from other parts of the world as well who were in Israel on holiday or because they had dual citizenship.”
Israel responded to the attack with widespread air strikes that have leveled buildings and prompted thousands to flee farther south into Gaza. That’s a humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed, Escobar said.
“The stories that have been coming out of Israel, in the aftermath of this horrific (Oct. 7) attack have been so profoundly heartbreaking. … I cannot imagine the trauma, the pain and the misery that has been left in the wake of that horrific attack,” she said. “I also want to say my heart breaks for the loss of innocent Palestinian lives in Gaza as well.”
Escobar said Israel has a right to defend itself and is a key partner for the U.S. in the Middle East. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as a Democracy in a very difficult part of the world for Democracy to thrive and succeed. But I have been very deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis within Gaza,” she said.
Escobar said she received a briefing from the administration about the lack of water, the lack of medicine and the lack of electricity in Gaza and found it disturbing, particularly because of the children, women and elderly affected.
The El Paso Democrat said she was in Israel earlier this year and relayed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu her support for a two-state solution for the Palestinian conflict.
“The challenge we have going forward is that the bombing and pending ground posture by Israel is going to create more humanitarian catastrophe,” she said. “We have to make sure the American public knows the Palestinians are not the same thing as Hamas. But the Palestinians are paying the price right now.”
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