Vermont Senator Sanders calls for end to U.S. military aid to Israel amid allegations of law violations

    Amid escalating violence in Gaza, Senator Bernie Sanders challenges the U.S. to halt military aid to Israel, citing violations of international and American laws.


    As the conflict in Gaza intensifies, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has vociferously called for the United States to cease military aid to Israel. His demands follow a U.S. State Department report that, while inconclusive on specific incidents, suggests it is “reasonable to assess” that U.S. weapons may have been used by Israel in ways that violate international humanitarian law.

    The controversy centers around a recent report mandated by President Joe Biden under National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20). This directive required Secretary of State Antony Blinken to secure assurances from foreign governments, including Israel, that U.S. arms would be used in accordance with international law. Released last Friday, the report stopped short of confirming direct violations but highlighted potential misuse of American-supplied weaponry in Gaza.

    Critics, including human rights organizations, have decried the report as overly cautious and protective of U.S.-Israeli relations. Senator Chris Van Hollen labeled it “woefully inadequate,” criticizing its failure to meet the international standards expected of a global leader like the U.S. Amnesty International USA described the report’s approach as akin to offering “thoughts and prayers,” a sentiment echoed across various human rights platforms.

    On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders articulated a firm stance against further military support for Netanyahu’s administration, citing repeated breaches of both international and American laws. “Any objective observer knows Israel has broken international law,” Sanders asserted. He highlighted the dissonance between U.S. law, which prohibits the blocking of humanitarian aid, and Israel’s actions in Gaza, which he argues do just that.

    Sanders underscored the disproportionate nature of Israel’s response to Hamas, describing it as a war not just against the militant organization but against the Palestinian people at large. The result, Sanders noted, has been catastrophic, with a significant toll on civilian life and infrastructure.

    Secretary of State Blinken defended the U.S. position, emphasizing the complexity of reaching definitive conclusions about the use of U.S. weapons in real-time during an ongoing conflict. He assured that investigations are ongoing and that the U.S. remains committed to upholding international law. “When we can reach definitive conclusions, we will,” Blinken stated, acknowledging the significant challenges involved.

    The human cost of the conflict has been steep. According to Sanders, Gaza has seen over 35,000 deaths since the conflict escalated, with the majority being women and children. The senator painted a grim picture of the destruction in Gaza, including significant damage to essential infrastructure such as water, sewage, healthcare, and educational facilities. This devastation, coupled with the blockade on aid, has pushed the region to the brink of humanitarian disaster.

    The debate over U.S. aid to Israel is set against a backdrop of mixed political and public opinions. While some U.S. lawmakers support Israel’s actions as self-defense against Hamas, a growing contingent within the U.S., including a significant portion of the public, is calling for a ceasefire and the initiation of substantial humanitarian efforts. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans favor an immediate ceasefire and oppose further exacerbation of the crisis through military action.

    Senator Bernie Sanders remarked, “The people of our country do not want to be complicit in the starvation of hundreds of thousands of children.”


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