A video of a U.S. Senator being confronted by a journalist about a ceasefire in Gaza has gone viral online, garnering over two million views on social media.
On October 7, the militant group Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history, with Israel subsequently launching its heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza in response. As of this week, over 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, the Associated Press reported, while more than 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the ensuing strikes from Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is “at war” and has cut off food, fuel, electricity, and medicine supplies into Gaza. Israel has called up 360,000 army reservists as it prepares for a likely ground offensive into the territory, which has an estimated population of around 2.3 million.
The ensuing conflict in Gaza has sparked fierce and caustic debate worldwide, with many throwing their support behind Israel in the fight against Hamas, and still many others standing with the Palestinian civilians and demanding a ceasefire. A great number of lawmakers in the U.S. have offered strong support to the Israeli government, a longtime ally, prompting yet more blowback from constituents and activists.
Among these lawmakers has been Chris Coons, a Democrat who has served as the junior senator from Delaware since 2010. On Monday, journalist Aaron Maté shared a video to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in which he confronted Coons about not supporting a Gaza ceasefire while sitting across from him on a train. On the platform, the clip had been viewed 2.1 million times as of Monday evening.
In the clip, Maté initially apologizes for putting the senator on the spot, then proceeds to ask him about U.S. support for Israel, repeatedly stressing, “U.S. weapons are killing kids in Gaza.”
“Nice to meet you, Aaron. Please stop talking to me,” Coons says after the journalist introduces himself, later saying, “This is not an appropriate place for you to interview me.”
Elsewhere in the clip, Coons outlines his opposition to a ceasefire in Gaza, instead opting to support humanitarian pauses, echoing the position taken on the matter by President Joe Biden. Israel and its supporters have strongly opposed the notion of a ceasefire, claiming that it would allow Hamas to regroup for another sizeable attack, which Hamas itself has pledged to continue conducting. Humanitarian pauses proposed in place of a ceasefire would last a few hours each day, but have been criticized as insufficient.
“I’m not gonna call for a ceasefire,” Coons says in the clip. “I strongly support humanitarian pauses. I’ve urged the Israeli government to target their campaign against Hamas. But you need to stop…Please stop, or I’m gonna have you thrown off this train. This is not professional journalism, please get up and leave now.”
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
Sen. @ChrisCoons sat across from me on the train. With Israel using US weapons to kill thousands of Palestinian civilians, including 4600+ children, I asked him why he refuses to call for a ceasefire: pic.twitter.com/uW7oBBX0Il— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 13, 2023