Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a resolution Thursday to force a vote on whether to block weapons sales to Israel as the deadly conflict between the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza and its neighboring state Israel rages.
The Democratic socialist seeks to stop the recent sale of $735 million in weapons from the U.S. to the Israel Ministry of Defense, including Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bombs, according to the resolution.
“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a Congressional debate,” Sanders said in a statement.
“I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Sanders continued. “We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict.”
Liberal Democrats in the House, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., filed a similar resolution in the House on Wednesday seeking to block the White House-approved sale of arms to Israel.
“The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday.
The joint resolution reflects the frustration liberal Democrats have expressed with the Biden administration over not doing enough to force a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas – the worst fighting since the 2014 war. Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, confronted Biden personally on the tarmac in Detroit on Tuesday and engaged the president in a heated discussion about doing more to protect Palestinians and taking a stronger stance on Israel.
The ongoing airstrikes have left at least 230 Palestinians dead, including 65 children and 39 women. Meanwhile, 12 people in Israel have died, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.
President Biden told Israel on Wednesday that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire” — but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back, saying he was “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” It marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sanders’ resolution. And a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., did not immediately offer insight into timing for a potential vote. Schumer, who has been a strong supporter of Israel, said Monday he backs bipartisan calls for a cease-fire led by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Todd Young,…