Rafah airstrike

Relatives of Palestinians killed by an Israeli airstrike are pictured at El-Najar Hospital in Rafah, Gaza on April 21, 2024.

(Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

IDF Kills 18 Children in Rafah Hours After US House Approves Billions in Military Aid

"Members of Congress should understand that approving more military aid could subject them to personal liability for aiding and abetting an ongoing genocide in Gaza."

Hours after the U.S. House approved legislation that would send billions of dollars in additional military aid to Israel, the country's forces killed nearly two dozen people in Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than half of the enclave's population is sheltering.

Gaza health officials said Sunday that the weekend strikes on Rafah—a former "safe zone" that Israel has been threatening to invade for weeks—killed 22 people, including 18 children. The Associated Pressreported that the first of the Israeli strikes "killed a man, his wife, and their 3-year-old child, according to the nearby Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the bodies."

"The woman was pregnant and the doctors saved the baby, the hospital said," AP added. "The second strike killed 17 children and two women from an extended family."

Israeli forces have killed more than 14,000 children in Gaza since October, but the Biden administration and American lawmakers have refused to back growing international calls to cut off the supply of weaponry and other military equipment even as U.S. voters express support for an arms embargo.

The measure the House approved on Saturday includes $26 billion in funding for Israel, much of which is military assistance.

"Just a day after the House voted to send $14 billion in unconditional military funding to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's campaign of death and destruction, he bombed the safe zone of Rafah AGAIN, killing 22 Palestinians, of which 18 were CHILDREN!" U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), one of the 58 House lawmakers who voted against the legislation, wrote on social media late Sunday.

"History books will write about today and the past seven months, and how our nation's leaders lacked the courage and moral clarity to stand up to a tyrant," she added. "Shameful."

The military aid package for Israel now heads to the U.S. Senate, which is set to consider the bill early this week. U.S. President Joe Biden, who has continued to greenlight arms sales to Israel amid clear evidence of war crimes, is expected to sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

"Rather than sending more weapons to Israel, Congress should declare an immediate arms embargo on Israel."

U.S. law prohibits "arms transfers that risk facilitating or otherwise contributing to violations of human rights or international humanitarian law," according to a White House memo issued in February. The U.S. State Department has said repeatedly that it has not found Israel to be in violation of international law, a position that runs directly counter to the findings of leading humanitarian organizations and United Nations experts.

The investigative outlet ProPublicareported last week that a "special State Department panel recommended months ago that Secretary of State Antony Blinken disqualify multiple Israeli military and police units from receiving U.S. aid after reviewing allegations that they committed serious human rights abuses" prior to the October 7 Hamas-led attack on southern Israel.

"But Blinken has failed to act on the proposal in the face of growing international criticism of the Israeli military's conduct in Gaza, according to current and former State Department officials," ProPublica noted.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), said in a statement Sunday that senators "should reject sending additional weapons to Israel not only because our laws prohibit military aid to abusive regimes, but because it's extremely damaging to our national interests."

DAWN's advocacy director, Raed Jarrar, added that "at a time when Israel is bracing for International Criminal Court arrest warrants against its leaders, members of Congress should understand that approving more military aid could subject them to personal liability for aiding and abetting an ongoing genocide in Gaza."

"Rather than sending more weapons to Israel," said Jarrar, "Congress should declare an immediate arms embargo on Israel."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.