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$26B in Unconditional Aid to Israel Passes House With Just 58 Voting Against

“Our country isn’t just complicit in this genocide. We’re actively participating in it,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Demonstrators rally and march through downtown to show support for the Palestinian people on October 11, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

The House passed a bill to send $26.4 billion in unconditional military and other assistance to Israel on Saturday, with only 37 Democrats voting against the package, which would aid the genocide in Gaza and escalate tensions across the Middle East.

The bill passed 366 to 58 on a bipartisan basis, with 21 Republicans joining the three dozen Democrats in voting against the passage. The legislation, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, would allow Israel to access U.S. weapons stockpiles held in other countries as Israel prepares a raid of southern Gaza. The legislation also bans the funds from being used to contribute to Palestinians’ primary humanitarian relief agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), even as U.S. officials warn that famine is spreading across the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the bill’s passage, which, if signed into law, will likely help Israel further inflame tensions with Iran while continuing its genocide, in which over 34,000 Palestinians, including at least 14,500 children, have been killed so far.

The funding is significantly higher than previous proposals for aid to Israel. Shortly after Israel’s current assault on Gaza began in October last year, President Joe Biden had requested $14 billion in unconditional aid; the new House bill nearly doubles that request. The U.S. is already the largest single foreign funder of Israel and has provided the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with tens of thousands of weapons over the decades, including thousands of bombs and munitions just in recent months.

Among the Democrats who voted against the bill were cosponsors of Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-Missouri) ceasefire legislation, as well as a number of other Democrats who have seemingly come around on the issue in recent months as the U.S. sanctions the slaughter of Palestinians.

Nineteen of the Democrats, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Baarbara Lee (California) and Pramila Jayapal (Washington), who voted against the bill put out a statement saying that they support funding for Israel’s Iron Dome and its “right to self-defense,” but do not support “mak[ing] ourselves complicit in this tragedy.”

Others put out statements that were stronger in their condemnation of Israel.

“I refuse to be a party to an ongoing genocide that Netanyahu, his far-right government, and the United States are inflicting on the Palestinian people,” said Bush. “We find ourselves at a dangerous and pivotal moment in the history of our country and world. It is imperative that we invest in diplomacy, democracy, and peacebuilding, rather than death, destruction, and mass human suffering.”

“I do not support unconditional military aid that further escalates the already horrific humanitarian situation. It’s unconscionable to provide a blank check to the Israeli military while the genocide of Palestinians consinue[s],” wrote Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

In addition, Bush and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) held a press conference condemning the funding last week, highlighting statements from doctors who had served in Gaza in recent months.

There, Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, said: “Our country isn’t just complicit in this genocide. We’re actively participating in it.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has pledged to oppose the funding package by offering amendments to oppose unconditional military funding to Israel and restore funding to the UNRWA.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure the United States does not send more unconditional military aid to Netanyahu’s war machine and does not allow any more children to starve in Gaza,” Sanders said.

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