Duncan, who served as head of the Department of Education from 2009 to 2016 under President Obama, shared a video on Twitter of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza crying over the rocket attacks that had left a building in rubble behind her. “Why do we deserve this, what did we do for this?” the girl asked. She said her parents had told her, “They just hate us, they just don’t like us because we are Muslims.”
“Children across the globe, and right here in our country — including on the south and west sides of Chicago — live every day with a level of fear and trauma due to violence that is unimaginable,” Duncan wrote on Twitter. “They feel that no one cares. It is never, ever fair, and it is never, ever their fault.”
An Israeli air raid in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, early Saturday in the deadliest single strike since the battle with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers erupted earlier this week. Both sides pressed for an advantage as cease-fire efforts gathered strength.
Israel and Gaza are entering their sixth day of deadly attacks in the most serious conflict between Israeli and Gaza militants since 2014. Police and protesters began with clashes in the streets of East Jerusalem fighting over impending evictions and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque before the rocket attacks commenced. Violence has now spread to other regions where Jews and Arabs live side by side.
In Gaza, at least 126 people have been killed, including 31 children and 20 women; in Israel, seven people have been killed, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.
An Israeli military official said Friday that at least 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza toward Israel since the start of the violence, according to Reuters. Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.
Biden said Thursday he had not seen a “significant overreaction” from Israel in response to Hamas’ rocket attacks, and that they had been “indiscriminately fired into population centers.” Both he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
U.S. diplomat Hady Amr arrived on Friday as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict, and the U.N. Security Council was set to meet Sunday. But Israel turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers had accepted, an Egyptian official said Friday on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.