Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has issued a stern call for lawmakers to reject a proposal to send Israel additional military assistance to bolster its assault on Gaza as the Palestinian death toll surpasses 22,000.
On Tuesday, Sanders released a statement calling for “no more U.S. funding for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s illegal and immoral war against the Palestinian people,” saying that Congress should reject the proposed funding bill that would send $10.1 billion in military funding to Israel on top of the billions in military assistance that the U.S. already sends each year.
“The issue we face with Israel-Gaza is not complicated,” Sanders said.
Noting that he believes Hamas’s October 7 attack was the beginning of the current conflict — perhaps overlooking the decades of Israeli apartheid and occupation in Palestine leading up to the attack — Sanders continued, “we must also recognize that Israel’s military response has been grossly disproportionate, immoral, and in violation of international law. And, most importantly for Americans, we must understand that Israel’s war against the Palestinian people has been significantly waged with U.S. bombs, artillery shells, and other forms of weaponry.”
Indeed, U.S. intelligence reports have found that a whopping 22,000 of the bombs that Israeli forces dropped on Gaza in the first month and a half of Israel’s current assault were U.S.-made. These bombs could have been drawn from many sources: the over 70,000 weapons that the U.S. has sent to Israel over the past decades, the normally highly guarded U.S. weapons stockpile that officials are allowing Israeli forces to access, or the thousands of bombs and weapons that Biden administration officials are currently secretively funneling to Israeli forces.
The administration has been so determined to send more weapons to Israel, in fact, that it has now twice circumvented Congress in order to approve arms sales. President Joe Biden was behind the request for $10.1 billion in military assistance to Israel, which is awaiting approval from Congress.
Sanders highlighted the brutality of Israel’s assault in his statement, noting that 85 percent of people in Gaza have been forcibly displaced, 70 percent of homes in Gaza have been destroyed and the entire population of Gaza is going hungry.
“Today, not only are the vast majority of people in Gaza homeless, they lack food, water, medical supplies, and fuel,” the senator said. “The chief economist at the World Food Program said the humanitarian disaster in Gaza is among the worst he has ever seen. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
“Congress is working to pass a supplemental funding bill that includes $10 billion of unconditional military aid for the right-wing Netanyahu government to continue its brutal war against the Palestinian people,” Sanders continued. “Enough is enough. Congress must reject that funding. The taxpayers of the United States must no longer be complicit in destroying the lives of innocent men, women, and children in Gaza.”
Sanders has continually spoken out against the supplemental aid bill. Last month, he sent a letter to Biden asking the president to reject the funding bill, urging him to back a “humanitarian ceasefire,” and reverse the U.S.’s stance on vetoing UN legislation calling for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages. However, Sanders has refused to call for a permanent ceasefire, making him the target of ire of Palestinian rights advocates who maintain that a ceasefire is the only way to begin ushering lasting peace for Palestinians.
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!