Sanders Demands US Closely Monitor Aid Entering Gaza as Israel Weaponizes Hunger

By: Sharon Zhang; Truthout

“The United States cannot be complicit in the use of starvation as a weapon of war,” the senator said.

U.S. officials must demand daily updates on humanitarian aid shipments being allowed into Gaza as Israel weaponizes hunger and touts an insufficient single-day supply of aid into the region, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said on Tuesday, emphasizing that the U.S. must stop sending arms to Israel.

In a statement, the senator raised alarm about Israel’s starvation campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in half of the population experiencing famine or being at imminent risk of experiencing famine, while the rest of Gaza is undergoing an acute hunger crisis.

“[T]he people of Gaza are starving. Without a dramatic influx of food, water, and medicine, many thousands more innocent men, women, and children will perish,” said Sanders. “This is morally unacceptable and must end NOW.”

The statement was released in response to an announcement by Israeli officials — facing international pressure due to Israel’s killing of seven international aid workers last week — that they allowed 322 trucks of aid to enter Gaza on Monday, after six months of perpetuating what experts have labeled the worst famine in modern times.

Though this is an increase from the 105 trucks that are entering each day on average, it is a far cry from the 500 to 600 trucks that humanitarian groups say is currently needed to meet Palestinians’ daily basic needs. Routes to northern Gaza, where the starvation crisis is the most dire, are still closed, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

Israeli officials have supposedly committed to opening up humanitarian aid routes, having purposefully blocked the vast majority of aid from entering for months as children in Gaza starved, but Israel and its allies have also repeatedly denied that there is even a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in contrast to virtually all reports.

Sanders highlighted the disparity in the amount of aid that Israel has touted versus the amount that is needed, saying that the U.S. has an obligation to follow through on any commitments by Israel to ensure they actually happen.

“[G]iven Israel’s horrendous humanitarian record thus far, these commitments must be closely monitored on a daily basis. This is an urgent crisis,” Sanders said. “Food, water, and medical supplies must immediately reach people in desperate need throughout Gaza. The United States government must demand daily updates on implementation of these steps.”

The senator went on to say that Israel’s massacre and hunger campaign — which experts have repeatedly said is in violation of international law — demonstrate the need for the U.S. to halt arms shipments to Israel, which is a popular idea among the public. Reports have found that U.S. officials have covertly sent at least 100 weapons shipments to Israel since October, even as experts emphasize that continuing to aid Israel’s military is in violation of U.S. laws.

“The United States must focus on saving innocent Palestinian people and advancing steps that can secure a lasting peace, not sending Netanyahu’s extreme, right-wing government more money or weapons,” said Sanders. “The United States cannot be complicit in the use of starvation as a weapon of war.”