Bernie Sanders calls to condition US aid to Israel

Sanders demands US withhold aid to Israel if it does not limit bombing campaign, end construction in Judea and Samaria, and commit to leaving Gaza after the war.

By Susan Tawil, World Israel News

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took aim at Israel’s counter-terrorism operation in the Gaza Strip last week, demanding that the U.S. condition its military aid to the Jewish state.

In a statement released on his website last Thursday, Sanders lamented the deaths in both Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“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.”

Sanders then wrote that the U.S. must take action to force Israel to curtail its air campaign in Gaza and to press Jerusalem to allow expanded aid into the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

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“The issue now is to act decisively to end the indiscriminate bombing by Israel…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.”

The senator added that “this horrific situation” can only be changed by “attaching conditions” to a bill coming before Congress to grant supplemental aid to Israel.

The “conditions” the Senator demands include:
• “An end to (Israel’s) 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.”

Sanders made no mention of the return of the 239 hostages abducted by Hamas and held in Gaza, nor is there any demand for Hamas to cease the firing of rockets and missiles targeting Israeli civilian communities.

Sanders also castigated the Netanyahu government.

“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.”

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“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 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.”

Sanders did not demand a ceasefire, however, writing: “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.”

“I am not quite sure how you negotiate a ceasefire with a terrorist organization that is dedicated to perpetual war.”

Michael Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, responded to Sanders, saying: “Whoever wants to see a ‘democratic Palestine’ must support the defeat of Hamas.”

“Sixteen years of Hamas’ rule of Gaza, since taking over in a bloody coup, produced only misery for Gaza’s citizens, tens of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli population centers…and numerous armed clashes with Israel – all culminating in the unimaginably atrocious terror attack on October 7”

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“How exactly do you, Senator Sanders, propose to defeat these genocidal extremists – who hide behind innocent civilians and use them as human shields?”

Two days later, on November 18, Sanders issued a clarification.

“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.”