Alaska’s congressional delegation backs Israel as Gaza war intensifies

The U.S. is Israel’s most important ally. President Joe Biden signs a guestbook during a 2022 trip to Jerusalem. (Adam Schultz/White House)

With Israeli hostages still in captivity and the death toll in Gaza rising, Alaska’s congressional delegation is staying in Israel’s corner.

Congresswoman Mary Peltola voted this week for a House resolution condemning the Hamas attack and backing Israel’s right to defend itself. It passed overwhelmingly, with only a handful of Democrats and one Republican voting no.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution, and Sen. Dan Sullivan has been especially outspoken. He and other senators were in Tel Aviv Sunday and held a press conference.

“This is a very sobering day, meeting with the families of the hostages, seeing videos that I actually think the whole world should see of the just severe brutality and viciousness and evil,” he said.

He was speaking of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which killed more than 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians. Israel has stepped up its bombardment of Gaza, killing thousands, as it attempts to abolish Hamas. Sullivan says the difference is that Hamas intended to kill civilians.

“There’s no moral equivalence,” he said. “Every civilian death in a war is horrible. But what we’re seeing, and what we saw, with regard to Hamas, was an attempt to actually make more civilian deaths as bloody and vicious as possible. That’s not what Israel does.

The Hamas-run Ministry of Health says more than 7,000 people have been killed in Gaza, but the U.S. says it can’t verify that number. More than 120 countries voted Friday for a United Nations resolution seeking a humanitarian cease fire. The United States, Israel and a dozen other countries voted no.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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