NEWS: Sanders Statement on Israel, Palestine, and Growing Humanitarian Disaster

BURLINGTON, Vt. Nov. 16 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today released the following statement on Israel, Palestine, and the growing humanitarian disaster in Gaza:

Since October 7th, there has not been a day that goes by that I am not deeply saddened and distressed by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. To see innocent young people slaughtered at a music festival, children and elderly people kidnapped, and then, thousands of civilians killed, including entire families being wiped out and thousands of children dead, torments me and millions of others who are watching this conflict unfold.

But we cannot look away.

I wish there was a simple solution to this conflict. There isn’t. Non-binding resolutions that Congress won’t pass can’t do that. The issue now is to act decisively to end the indiscriminate bombing by Israel, which has caused the deaths of an estimated 12,000 people, and secure a significant humanitarian pause so that the massive humanitarian aid that is needed – food, water, medicine, and fuel – can get into Gaza and save lives. That is the immediate crisis that must be addressed. The way to bring about real change in this horrific situation is to attach conditions to any supplemental spending bill for Israel that comes before Congress.

The issues that must be addressed in that bill are: an end to indiscriminate bombing and a significant pause so that massive humanitarian assistance can come into the region; the right of displaced Gazans to return to their homes; no long-term Israeli occupation of Gaza; an end to settler violence in the West Bank and a freeze on settlement expansion; and a commitment to broad peace talks for a two-state solution in the wake of the war.

Lastly, Hamas has been very clear, both before its barbaric attack on October 7th and after that attack, that their goal is perpetual warfare and the destruction of Israel. Just last week a spokesman for Hamas, Mr. Taher El-Nounou, told the New York Times, “I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders, and that the Arab world will stand with us.” I am not quite sure how you negotiate a ceasefire with a terrorist organization that is dedicated to perpetual war.

If we are going to have a chance at saving innocent lives, Congress must take action, the Biden Administration must take action, the world must take action. We must find a way to break this cycle of violence.