A baby, hospitalized due to malnutrition and dehydration, in Gaza on March 2, 2024

A baby, hospitalized due to malnutrition and dehydration, lie in an incubator at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, Gaza on March 2, 2024. Palestinians are not able to obtain basic food supplies since the embargo, imposed by the Israeli forces, continues.

(Photo by Mahmoud Issa/Anadolu via Getty Images)

'Starvation Is Taking Place': Sanders Demands Biden Cut Off All Military Aid to Israel

The independent Senator said arming a nation that is actively "prohibiting aid convoys from delivering desperately needed food and water" represents a clear violation of U.S. law.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday accused Israel of standing in clear violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act by creating the conditions for mass starvation within the Gaza Strip as he called on the Biden administration to halt all military aid to the country until Palestinians are granted the life-saving humanitarian relief they urgently need.

"Starvation is taking place in Gaza," Sanders said in a statement. "Israel is prohibiting aid convoys from delivering desperately needed food and water."

While the U.S. government initiated airdrops over the weekend with the aim of providing tens of thousands of meals for those starving and suffering malnutrition in the besieged territory of Gaza, relief agencies said the effort was only a drop in the bucket of what is needed to stem what the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday called a "hell on earth" situation.

Sanders on Friday was supportive of airdrops—an effort he said would "buy time and save lives"—but added that "there is no substitute for sustained ground deliveries of what is needed to sustain life in Gaza."

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Sanders, "must open the borders and allow the United Nations to deliver supplies in sufficient quantities. The United States should make clear that failure to do so immediately will lead to a fundamental break in the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the immediate halt of all military aid."

On Sunday, as Common Dreams reported, UNICEF issued a warning to the world that ten child deaths from starvation had already been documented, that others had likely occurred, and many more should be expected if conditions on the ground were not immediately addressed.

"Horrific reports confirmed that, over the last few days only, at least 10 children died of malnutrition in Gaza," the agency said. "These deaths are man-made, predictable, and entirely preventable."

Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, called the situation in Gaza an "engineered famine" created by Israel and its international allies who have stood aside or provided backing to Netanyahu.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunda all pressed the Israelis to increase military aid as she pressed by both Netanyahu and Hamas leaders to accept a cease-fire deal.

"People in Gaza are starving," Harris said during an event in Alabama. "The conditions are inhumane and our common humanity compels us to act."

"The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses," she added, but notably did not say what, if any, consequences the Israelis would face from the White House if they refused.

As Sanders' office noted in its Sunday statement, Israel's ongoing blockade of food, water, medical supplies, and fuel as the civilian population suffers at such levels is a clear violation of Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, which states:

No assistance shall be furnished … to any country when it is made known to the President that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.

"Today," said Sanders, "I urge President Biden to implement this law and make it clear to Israel that, if aid access is not immediately opened up, he will impose consequences under the Foreign Assistance Act and stop military assistance to Israel."

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