Rep. Moulton calls Israeli government's treatment of civilians in Gaza 'troubling'

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Rep. Seth Moulton speaks on Capitol Hill. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Rep. Seth Moulton speaks on Capitol Hill. (Alex Brandon/AP)

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said he is troubled by what he calls the Israeli government's "problematic" treatment of civilians in Gaza, namely the killing of civilians and the restriction of food, water and fuel.

"Everyone is concerned about the fate of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza," he said on WBUR's Radio Boston Thursday. "We've already heard horrific reports of dozens, even hundreds of kids being killed in Israeli airstrikes."

Moulton, a Democrat and Marine veteran, wrote an opinion piece for CNN this week warning against a "forever war" in Gaza. He echoed these sentiments on Radio Boston, saying the biggest mistake the United States made after 9/11 was going in to war without a longterm strategy. He questioned if Israeli airstrikes on Gaza would ultimately hurt Israel in the conflict.

"This isn't just a matter of, of humanity and human rights, although of course that's most important. It's also just a matter of whether or not Israel can win this fight," said Moulton.

The congressman cited a theory by U.S. Gen. Stan McChrystal called  “insurgent math," which estimates that for every civilian who dies, 10 civilians become insurgents. He said the Israeli government will "ultimately defeat themselves ... if they recruit more insurgents than they kill."

He did not call for an Israeli ceasefire, but said that the U.S. needs to "carefully calibrate" the support it is providing for Israel to make sure it isn't counterproductive or in violation of human rights.

On the home front, Moulton called the unrest in the House of Representatives a "national security threat," saying that political extremism in the Israeli government is reflected in the House.

"Over time, we will probably learn that Hamas chose this moment to attack Israel because of the political dysfunction in the Netanyahu government, the the domestic unrest with Netanyahu's politics, because he has catered to the extremists, exactly what we see the Republicans doing here in the United States," said Moulton. "This is very dangerous for our Congress and for our country."

Moulton said that only a few Republicans are needed to put the Democrats' choice, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, in the speaker's chair. Moulton noted that in the last speakers vote, Jeffries received 212 votes, just five votes short of the 217 needed.

Moulton suggested Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio as a Republican he might be able to work with if elected speaker.

"He's respected on both sides of the aisle. I've worked with him on a lot of stuff on the House Armed Services Committee, and I think he has a lot of respect in the Republican conference, at least that's what I've been told," said Moulton. "He's the kind of moderate, reasonable, thoughtful person who we should have as a speaker of the House."

This segment aired on October 19, 2023.


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