Sanders demands immediate halt to US offensive military aid to Israel amid Netanyahu’s complaints

Sanders emphasized the need to reassess U.S. military support in light of Israel's actions in Gaza and the West Bank, highlighting the humanitarian crisis and the urgent need for peace.

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has called for an immediate cessation of all offensive military aid to Israel following a video in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Biden administration for not supplying weapons quickly enough. Sanders emphasized the need to reassess U.S. military support in light of Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank, highlighting the humanitarian crisis and the urgent need for peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a brief English-language video accusing the Biden administration of “withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.” Netanyahu added that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured him that the administration is working “day and night to remove these bottlenecks.” Netanyahu likened the situation to World War II, quoting Winston Churchill’s plea to the United States: “Give us the tools, we’ll do the job.”

In response, Sanders released his own video statement, condemning Netanyahu’s remarks and the ongoing violence against Palestinians. Sanders acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism and respond to the October 7th Hamas attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis and the taking of hundreds of hostages. However, he argued that the Israeli government does not have the right to wage war against the entire Palestinian population. Sanders criticized Netanyahu’s government for killing more than 37,000 Palestinians and injuring nearly 85,000, a majority of whom are women, children, or the elderly.

The Biden administration has continued to approve military aid to Israel, including tank ammunition and mortar rounds, despite pausing a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs. Since October 7th, the administration has approved over 100 weapons sales to Israel. This continued support has been controversial, with accusations that U.S. arms have been used in war crimes committed in Gaza.

Sanders’ call for halting military aid has been echoed by a growing number of Democratic lawmakers, who plan to boycott Netanyahu’s scheduled address to Congress. Representative Ro Khanna stated, “I will not attend,” expressing his unwillingness to participate in a one-way lecture. The boycott stems from Netanyahu’s government’s role in creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history through indiscriminate attacks on Gaza.

Netanyahu’s video reportedly led the Biden White House to cancel a scheduled meeting with Israel on Iran. U.S. President Joe Biden’s top advisers were reportedly enraged by the video, with U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein delivering a personal message to Netanyahu expressing their displeasure. Despite Netanyahu’s repeated provocations, the U.S. has continued to provide diplomatic support for Israel on the world stage, often blocking efforts to secure an end to the assault on Gaza.

Sanders called for the U.S. to leverage its influence to demand an end to the war in Gaza, ensure the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid, halt the killing of Palestinians in the West Bank, and take steps toward a two-state solution. He emphasized the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis, which has left many Palestinians without essential resources such as water, electricity, and healthcare.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank has worsened due to the blockade and ongoing military actions. Sanders argued that instead of honoring Netanyahu with an address to Congress, the U.S. should focus on using its leverage to promote peace and justice in the region.

The continued U.S. military aid to Israel and the calls for its reevaluation have significant implications for U.S.-Israel relations. The Biden administration’s actions and Sanders’ demands could influence future diplomatic and military support between the two countries. International reactions have also been critical, with various bodies and countries expressing concern over the use of U.S. arms in the conflict.

Ethical and legal considerations are at the forefront of the debate, with discussions about the implications of providing military aid to a country accused of war crimes. The need for an enforceable code of conduct for Supreme Court justices has also been highlighted, with recent revelations about undisclosed luxury trips and gifts received by Justice Clarence Thomas adding to the ethical controversies surrounding the judiciary.

“The United States should be withholding all offensive military aid to Israel and using our leverage to demand an end to this war, the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, a stop to the killing of Palestinians in the West Bank, and initial steps towards a two-state solution,” said Sanders.

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