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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


The last reported visit by a member of Congress to the Gaza Strip was by then-Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., in 2013.

Gaza is controlled by the Palestinian group Hamas, which is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, attacked Israel, a U.S. ally, which in turn declared war.

Gaza borders the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Egypt and is slightly more than twice the size of Washington, D.C. It has 2 million residents.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Madison-area Democrat, tweeted Oct. 9 that no member of Congress has been allowed in to Gaza for the last decade.

Pocan has called on Israel to allow members to enter Gaza to review U.S. aid for Palestinians living there in a “humanitarian crisis.”

NPR reported Oct. 10 that Israel has heavily bombed Gaza and ordered that no electricity, food or fuel be allowed in.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East: US Rep. Keith Ellison Calls For Obama-Rouhani Summit

Washington Post: Opinion End the Gaza blockade to achieve peace

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook: Gaza Strip

U.S. Department of State: Foreign Terrorist Organizations

New York Times: Here’s a timeline of Saturday’s attacks and Israel’s retaliation.

U.S. Department of State: Major Non-NATO Ally Status

AP News: Israel declares war, bombards Gaza and battles to dislodge Hamas fighters after surprise attack

Mark Pocan: Tweet

Congressman Mark Pocan: Pocan, Kildee, Johnson Call on Israel to Grant Access to Gaza

NPR: What is the Gaza Strip? Here’s what to know

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for Milwaukee Magazine and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.