Bernie Sanders Introduces Resolution Blocking $ 735 Million Arms Sale to Israel | American foreign policy
Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday introduced a resolution blocking a $ 735 million US arms sale to Israel, reflecting symbolic action by the House of Representatives in response to the conflict between Israel and the Hamas leadership in Gaza.
“I believe the United States must help pave the way for a peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis and Palestinians,” the progressive senator said on Twitter.
He added: “We need to carefully consider whether the sale of these weapons is really helping to achieve this, or whether it is just fueling the conflict.”
Sanders’ language mirrored that of a separate resolution he introduced on Wednesday, which stressed the importance of Israeli and Palestinian life. “Whereas every Palestinian life matters; and as every Israeli life counts: now, therefore, let it be resolved, let the Senate … call for an immediate ceasefire, ”said Sanders’ resolution.
The resolution was in response to a separate move by Republican Senator Rick Scott affirming US support for Israel.
The current conflict in the Middle East has opened up divisions within the Democratic Party between its progressive wing and its centrists, including the White House. Joe Biden’s administration approved the potential sale of $ 735 million in arms to Israel this year and sent it to Congress on May 5 for formal consideration.
Democratic and Republican leaders on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees all backed the sale in an informal review before May 5. And lawmakers predicted that efforts to stop the sale would fail, given traditionally strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for arms sales to Israel.
Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic Chairman of Senate External Relations, has said he will oppose the Sanders resolution. He also said he was not sure Sanders filed it within the required 15-day deadline.
“I can’t imagine this going through,” Sen. Jim Risch, the committee’s senior Republican, told reporters.
The clashes prompted some lawmakers to call for a more concerted US effort to stop the violence, including Israeli airstrikes that killed dozens of civilians, mostly Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Sanders’ resolution follows a measure introduced by U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib, which has at least six other co-sponsors, including some of the House’s most left-wing Democrats.