Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the U.S. Senate's Appropriations Committee, on Friday issued a statement on that body's approval of $225 million in aid to Israel. In part, Senator Mikulski wrote, "It's crucial that Israel has the opportunity to defend itself while others are working on cease fires or political solutions." She further wrote that these tax funds will save the lives of Israeli civilians.

My question to Senator Mikulski is simple: Is it her position that the lives of Israeli civilians are more valuable than the lives of Palestinian civilians?

As of this writing, three Israeli civilians and 912 Palestinian civilians, 268 of whom were children, have been killed in this latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Targets Israel has hit include a U.N. school in Gaza — the shelling of which the White House called "totally indefensible." Israeli fire also obliterated four children on a beach.

Causality figures are available here

The fact is, the numbers don't just speak — they scream a need for serious measures to protect civilians on both sides.

If our nation's elected leaders are cutting money from our defense budget to assist Israeli aggression in Gaza, then we must pause for a moment and ask ourselves, what about Palestinian lives? Are the lives of Palestinian civilians not worth saving?

Americans have the right to know that our tax dollars are not being used to enable the massacre of innocent civilians or to defend one group of people while leaving the other hanging out to dry — or, in this case, die.

Zainab Chaudry

The writer is the Maryland Outreach Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

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