Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivers a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

(Photo: Sen. Bernie Sanders/YouTube Screengrab)

Sanders: If Netanyahu Says No to Palestinian State, US Must Say No to Netanyahu

"There must be no more U.S. military aid to Israel to continue Netanyahu's war," the senator said.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said on Saturday that the U.S. must stop providing military aid to Israel for its war on Gaza now that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated his opposition to a Palestinian state.

Sanders' remarks came two days after Netanyahu said in a televised address that, in the future, Israel needed to have "security control of all territory west of the Jordan" and that he had told this to Israel's friends in the U.S., adding that "a prime minister of Israel has to be able to say no, even to the best of friends."

"Prime Minister Netanyahu is right," Sanders said in response. "We do need to be able to say NO to our friends."

"If Netanyahu continues down the path of military domination, he must do so alone. The United States cannot be complicit."

"He has made his position clear," Sanders continued. "He will never allow a Palestinian state, ever. He will continue his devastating war against innocent Palestinian men, women, and children. He will block the food, water, and medical supplies needed to prevent mass starvation and sickness. Now, we must make our position clear."

Sanders wrote that U.S. President Joe Biden must depart from his "unconditional support" for Israel.

"President Biden must now loudly and clearly say NO to the policies of Netanyahu's right-wing extremist government," Sanders said. "That is what a true friend of Israel must do in this moment."

He also called on Congress to take action.

"There must be no more U.S. military aid to Israel to continue Netanyahu's war," he said.

He also advocated for humanitarian aid to Gazans in need, a release of all hostages, and a "lasting peace" that includes a two-state solution.

"If Netanyahu continues down the path of military domination, he must do so alone," Sanders concluded. "The United States cannot be complicit."

Sanders' response to Netanyahu's remarks contrasted with Biden's, who insisted on Friday that a two-state solution was still possible while Netanyahu remained in office. Biden further told reporters that Netanyahu was not opposed to all two-state solutions and mentioned that some United Nations member states do not have militaries, according to Reuters.

When asked if he would consider putting conditions on aid to Israel given Netanyahu's remarks about a Palestinian state, Biden answered, "I think we'll be able to work something out... I think there's ways in which this could work."

Biden and Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Friday for the first time in almost a month, and a person familiar with the conversation toldCNN that Netanyahu told Biden his statement Thursday did not mean he opposed all potential forms of a Palestinian state. The person also said that Biden found the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state "intriguing."

On Saturday, however, Netanyahu's office issued a statement saying: "In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty."

Also on Saturday, Netanyahu issued a similar statement on social media.

"I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan—and this is contrary to a Palestinian state," Netanyahu wrote.

Journalist and former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan reshared Netanyahu's remarks on social media.

"The ongoing, public, deliberate humiliation of Biden at Netanyahu's hands continues," he wrote.

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