Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is moving to force senators to go on the record on Israel’s human rights violations amid its genocidal assault of Gaza.
On Thursday, Sanders introduced a resolution that would, if passed, compel the State Department to submit a report to Congress within 30 days on Israel’s human rights practices or else have all security assistance — or foreign military and nonmilitary assistance that advance U.S. national security aims — to Israel cut off.
The resolution is privileged, meaning that Sanders can choose to force a floor vote on the measure. In order to trigger the State Department report, it would have to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Joe Biden. Congress would then have the ability to modify security assistance to Israel based on the State Department’s assessment.
“We all know Hamas’ brutal terrorist attack began this war,” said Sanders (ignoring, perhaps, the apartheid, extrajudicial murders and settler-colonialism that Israel has forced on Palestinians for decades leading up to October 7). “But the Netanyahu government’s indiscriminate bombing is immoral, it is in violation of international law, and the Congress must demand answers about the conduct of this campaign. A just cause for war does not excuse atrocities in the conduct of that war.”
Sanders requests that the State Department answer to “credible allegations” of war crimes, such as denying basic needs like food, water and electricity to Palestinians in Gaza. The resolution also requests information on actions that the U.S. has taken to limit civilian death in Gaza, if any, and a list of weapons provided to Israel since October 7, which the Biden administration has thus far kept secret.
The resolution falls under the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars governments that continually commit international human rights violations from receiving security assistance from the U.S.
Many experts and human rights groups have said that Israel is or is extremely likely to be committing war crimes, including State Department staff. Sanders himself has said that Israel has violated international law in its bombardment of Gaza, despite refusing to call for a ceasefire, even as the death toll has now surpassed 18,600 Palestinians.
“The scale of the suffering in Gaza is unimaginable — it will be remembered among some of the darkest chapters of our modern history. This is a humanitarian cataclysm, and it is being done with American bombs and money,” Sanders said. “We need to face up to that fact — and then we need to end our complicity in those actions.”
Sanders’s statements echo those made in a letter he sent to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, in which he urged the president to reject proposals to send another $10 billion of military support to Israel and reverse course on the U.S.’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution last week calling for a ceasefire and release of all hostages.
It takes longer to read this sentence than it does to support our work.
We have 2 days to raise the $30,000 needed to meet Truthout‘s basic publishing costs this month. Will you take a few seconds to donate and give us a much-needed boost?
We know you are deeply committed to the issues that matter, and you count on us to bring you trustworthy reporting and comprehensive analysis on the real issues facing our country and the world. And as a nonprofit newsroom supported by reader donations, we’re counting on you too. If you believe in the importance of an independent, free media, please make a tax-deductible donation today!