RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A student organization at the University of Virginia is facing backlash following a statement it made following Hamas’s attack on Israel that led to the war in the Middle East. 

The Students For Justice in Palestine at UVA released a statement on Sunday on what they called, “The Current Situation in Gaza, Palestine.” 

The statement, which can be read in full on the organization’s Instagram page, claims Hamas’s attack on Israel “was not unprovoked as many have claimed.”

Instead, they blame Israel’s blockade on Gaza, a decades-long territorial dispute, and what they called “ethnic cleansing” by Israel.

The statement also says, while they “mourn the loss of human life and hope for long-lasting peace,” the events in Israel also make them “even more hopeful for the future of Palestine.”

Virginia Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (R-02) called the statement “truly disgusting” in a post on X. 

Attorney General Jason Miyares also took to X saying, “You cannot ‘mourn the loss of human life’ and ‘hope for long-lasting peace’ and also cheer on the murder, rape, and hostage-taking by Hamas, a terrorist organization that exists for the destruction and murder of Jewish people.” 

Although he didn’t specifically respond to the statement by the Students for Justice in Palestine, UVA President Jim Ryan did author a letter to the UVA community on Wednesday. 

Ryan said, “There can be no justification for, and we must condemn, the actions of Hamas and the horrific violence that has taken place against civilians, including children.”

Ryan added, “I trust that we as a community can and will adhere to UVA’s longstanding tradition of not just allowing free speech, but promoting civil discourse, even when – perhaps especially when – we strongly disagree.” 

8News reached out to the Students for Justice in Palestine at UVA to ask them about the backlash they have received, but did not hear back.