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CNN: US Senator Brian Baird Discovers the Real Gaza, Speaks Up

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Rep. Brian Baird got the opportunity to see the situation on the ground in Gaza, what you won’t find on Fox News. Turns out there is a lot he had to tell the folks when he returned home.

After visiting twice last year, Rep. Brian Baird is returning from his third trip to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, giving the Washington state Democrat the unusual distinction of having spent more time in Gaza than any other current member of the U.S. Congress.

He said he was discouraged by much of what he saw.
“If all that happens is that you come to this region and you are led around by the hand to see the things that someone wants you to see, hear the stories that someone wants you to hear, you will not get the full impression of what’s actually going on,” he said. “… If you can’t see these things yourself, you’re left with the official version of events.”
The international community — and particularly the United States — has not done enough, he said, to help the approximately 1.5 million Gaza residents who have been left unable to rebuild after the war because of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has been in place since Hamas seized power.

Baird’s outspoken comments have stirred controversy among some Jewish groups. The Republican Jewish Coalition described Baird’s airlift plan for Gaza “disturbing” and “outrageous” and called on President Obama to repudiate the congressman’s comments.

Baird strongly rejects the criticism.

“It’s troubling to me that there is a belief in the American political system today that if you speak out for the rights of the Palestinian people … you are somehow not seen as a loyal American or a friend of Israel,” he said. “I am a strong friend of Israel.”

He said he does not believe Israel’s policies in Gaza are just, and that ultimately “they are going to endanger the security of Israel” and the United States.

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Ameera is a final-year medical student and blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. Having been born and raised in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, her approach towards her Deen has always been rooted in a basic understanding from authentic sources, which was further polished during a three-year weekend course at Al Huda Institute. Her interests, though, seem to know no bounds and range from a passion for the culinary arts and travelling, as well as following current affairs and global happenings. She feels being able to be part of MuslimMatters is one of the major blessings of Allah(swt) upon her, for it has given her a chance to learn and grow. She also maintains her personal blog at http://duskanddawn.wordpress.com.

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