Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talks with reporters after a Senate luncheon in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

(Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

'We Are Complicit': Sanders Urges Biden to Curb Israel Military Aid

Israeli atrocities in Gaza are being carried out by "bombs and equipment produced and provided by the United States and heavily subsidized by American taxpayers," the Vermont senator wrote.

Calling the Netanyahu government's ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip "immoral" and illegal under international law, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden to drop his support for the portion of a supplemental foreign aid package that would give the Israeli military more than $10 billion in unconditional assistance.

Sanders (I-Vt.), who has faced backlash from Palestinian rights advocates for rejecting calls for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, also pushed Biden to "support efforts at the United Nations to end the bloodshed, such as the recent resolution, vetoed by the United States, that would have demanded an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and full humanitarian access."

The senator's letter to Biden was made public a day after the U.S. joined just nine other nations in voting against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for a cease-fire. The nonbinding resolution passed overwhelmingly, leaving the U.S. "increasingly isolated in its steadfast support of a war that seems to have no rules and no limits," as the executive director of Doctors Without Borders put it following Tuesday's vote.

"The U.S. must not provide $10 billion in military aid for Netanyahu's right-wing government to conduct their horrific war against innocent Palestinians."

Sanders argued in his letter that "while there is a moral case for a military response against a brutal terrorist attack, it is clear that the Netanyahu government's current campaign is being conducted in a deeply immoral way."

"Israel's reliance on widespread and indiscriminate bombardment, including with massive explosive ordinance in densely populated urban areas, is unconscionable," Sanders wrote. "This constitutes not just a humanitarian cataclysm, but a mass atrocity. And it is being done with bombs and equipment produced and provided by the United States and heavily subsidized by American taxpayers."

"Tragically, we are complicit in this carnage," the senator added, pointing to a recent Amnesty International investigation showing that the Israeli military used U.S.-made munitions to bomb two family homes in the Gaza Strip in October, killing 43 members of two families—including 19 children.

Sanders went on to criticize the Biden administration's timid response to Israel's massacres in Gaza, writing that the U.S. has "done little but ask nicely while continuing to enable" the Netanyahu government's devastating military campaign.

"While it is appropriate to support defensive systems that will protect Israeli civilians against incoming missile and rocket attacks," Sanders argued, "it would be irresponsible to provide an additional $10.1 billion in military aid beyond these defensive systems as contained in the proposed supplemental foreign aid package."

Sanders asked Biden to "withdraw" his support for that element of the larger aid package to stop fueling "the continuation of the Netanyahu government's widespread, indiscriminate bombardment."

Biden said Tuesday that Israel's "indiscriminate bombing" of the Gaza Strip is costing the country support on the world stage, but administration officials made clear Wednesday that the U.S. "has no plans to shift its position and draw any red lines around the transfer of weapons and munitions to Israel," CNNreported.

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