As ThinkProgress has previously noted, a variety of leading American conservatives and Israeli and American officials have ignored, downplayed, or outright denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli-Egyptian embargo. While attending the America’s Future Now! conference, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and asked her about her thoughts on these conservative denials and how she thinks U.S. policymakers should respond to the flotilla attack. She responded by saying that most international institutions agree that there is indeed a crisis in the Strip and that she endorses an investigation of the flotilla attack:
TP: Leading conservatives, like Newt Gingrich, have denied that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Do you agree with him, and if not, what changes do you think the U.S. should make in its policy towards the region?
EDWARDS: Well I think all international institutions have acknowledged there’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I have long said that I don’t think the blockade is really sustainable for the people of Gaza. And I join the United States and others in the United Nations asking for there to be an investigation of the actions that took place just last week.
In criticizing the Israeli blockade of Gaza and calling for an investigation, Edwards separates herself from many of her Democratic colleagues who have refused to be as bold. Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) told ThinkProgress that she doesn’t “want to go into a discussion of the blockade of Gaza.” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) went even so far as to compare the virtue of the Gaza blockade to international sanctions against Apartheid-era South Africa.
Haaretz reports the Israeli Defense Forces will conduct its own investigation into the flotilla raid. The Netanyahu government is “awaiting a ‘green light’ from the United States and other sources on a separate proposal for how to investigate the incident.”