McConnell says Israel is displaying 'restraint' as the UN warns of 'full-scale war' with dozens of Palestinians already killed

McConnell says Israel is displaying 'restraint' as the UN warns of 'full-scale war' with dozens of Palestinians already killed
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Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the "For the People Act," which would expand access to voting and other voting reforms, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Scott J. Applewhite/AP
  • Mitch McConnell on Wednesday touted Israel's "restraint" amid a recent escalation of violence.

  • Meanwhile, the UN warned of the potential for "full-scale war" as questions have been raised about Israel's tactics.

  • Dozens of Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed this week. At least 6 Israelis have been killed.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday defended Israel amid a recent escalation of violence with Palestine that has sparked fears of a broader conflict.

"The state of Israel has every right of self-defense. Its national security leaders have continued to display restraint," McConnell said in a Senate floor speech.

The Republican leader said Israel must know "their friends and allies here in the US stand with them as they seek to restore deterrence. That we support their right to peace and security. And that we will not relax our efforts to hold terrorists and terrorists' supporters to account."

Israel has conducted airstrikes that have killed at least 48 Palestinians since Monday, including 14 children, per the Associated Press. Meanwhile, rockets fired toward Israel from militant groups like Hamas in Gaza have killed at least six Israelis, including a soldier and a child.

As McConnell touted Israel's "restraint," the United Nations warned that the conflict risked escalating into a "full-scale war."

"Stop the fire immediately. We're escalating towards a full scale war," Tor Wennesland, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a tweet on Tuesday. "Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now."

Many of the Israeli military's tactics, including leveling residential buildings with airstrikes, have raised questions of proportionality and potential human rights violations.

McConnell's statements on Wednesday also came as Democratic lawmakers have increasingly criticized Israel over the violence, citing the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians as the primary catalyst for the escalation. There are growing calls from progressive Democrats to limit aid to Israel if the situation on the ground doesn't change.

"To protect lives, the Biden Administration must demand that Israel end these acts and move away from annexation and towards a two-state solution," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a tweet on Tuesday. "U.S. funding shouldn't be used to further human rights abuses."

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