BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 18 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today released the following statement calling for the conditioning of U.S. aid to Israel amidst the growing crisis in Gaza and the West Bank:
Hamas is a corrupt terrorist organization which began this war by slaughtering 1,200 innocent Israeli men, women, and children and taking over 200 hostages. Hamas has made clear, before and after October 7, that its goal is to destroy Israel. Under those circumstances, Israel absolutely has the right to defend itself.
While Israel has the right to go after Hamas, Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government does not have the right to wage almost total warfare against the Palestinian people. That is morally unacceptable and in violation of international law. Displacing 1.6 million people from their homes, cutting off food, water, medical supplies, and fuel, and killing some 12,000 Palestinians – nearly half of whom are children – is in violation of every code of human decency. It must stop.
The U.S. provides $3.8 billion a year in aid to Israel and the Biden administration wants $14.3 billion more. The Netanyahu government, or hopefully a new Israeli government, must understand that not one penny will be coming to Israel from the U.S. unless there is a fundamental change in their military and political positions. Among other conditions that must be imposed upon any aid to Israel are:
- an end to the indiscriminate bombing which has taken thousands of civilian lives and a significant pause in military operations so that massive humanitarian assistance can come into the region;
- the right of displaced Gazans to return to their homes;
- no long-term Israeli re-occupation or blockade of Gaza;
- an end to settler violence in the West Bank and a freeze on settlement expansion;
- a commitment to broad peace talks for a two-state solution in the wake of the war.