Sen. Bernie Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks outside of the West Wing following a meeting with President Joe Biden on July 17, 2023.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Sanders to Vote No on Military Aid Package Over 'Unconscionable' $10 Billion for Israel

"Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children are literally starving to death because Netanyahu's right-wing government is preventing desperately needed food and water from getting into Gaza."

Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would vote no Wednesday on a motion to proceed to legislation that would provide the Israeli government with over $10 billion in additional military aid as it carries out mass atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

"Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas' terrorism, but it does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people," said Sanders (I-Vt.). "Since this war began over 27,000 Palestinians have been killed and 67,000 wounded—two-thirds of whom are women and children."

"Over 1.7 million people have been driven from their homes and have no idea as to where they will be in the future," the senator continued. "Almost 70% of the housing units in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged. And today, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children are literally starving to death because [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's right-wing government is preventing desperately needed food and water from getting into Gaza."

Sanders noted that in addition to further arming the Israeli military, the foreign aid supplemental would prohibit U.S. funding for the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency, whose operations in Gaza and across the Middle East could soon collapse after the Biden administration and other Western governments suspended their contributions, citing unsubstantiated Israeli allegations against the agency's employees.

"This bill provides $10 billion more in U.S. military aid for the Netanyahu government to continue its horrific war against the Palestinian people," said Sanders. "That is unconscionable. That is why I will be voting no."

Sanders issued his statement shortly before the U.S. Senate began voting on whether to begin debate on a supplemental spending package that includes military aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan alongside a bipartisan border deal that rights groups have called an unacceptable attack on asylum rights. Sanders voted against proceeding to the bill.

Many Senate and House Republicans—at the urging of former President Donald Trump—revolted against the border agreement, claiming it isn't a sufficiently harsh crackdown on immigration. GOP opposition has doomed its chances of passing either chamber.

With the package containing both the border deal and foreign aid headed for defeat in the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to force a vote Wednesday on separate legislation that only includes White House-backed military assistance for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.

Sanders has expressed opposition to providing any additional offensive military support for the Netanyahu government, which on Wednesday rejected Hamas' proposed four-and-a-half month cease-fire.

Last week, Sanders said he would introduce an amendment to the foreign aid supplemental to "ensure zero funding for the continuation of Netanyahu's illegal, immoral war against the Palestinian people."

"The United States cannot be complicit in this humanitarian disaster," said the Vermont senator.

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