Sanders Says US Must ‘End All Offensive Military Aid’ as Israel Targets Rafah – ScheerPost

Sanders Says US Must ‘End All Offensive Military Aid’ as Israel Targets Rafah – ScheerPost

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By Julia Conley / Common Dreams

Ash Israel rejected a cease-fire deal that Hamas had accepted Monday, dashing the hopes of civilianstrapped in the south Gaza city ​​of Rafah that an invasion could be averted, US Sen. Bernie Sanders called on the Biden administration to stop the looming attack that humanitarian and rights organizations have been warning against for months.

The Vermont independent senator said President Joe Biden must follow through on his call for Israel to protect civilian lives by forgoing a ground invasion of Rafah. In March Biden said the attack would be a “red line” unless Israel developed a credible plan to evacuate civilians, who include an estimated 600,000 children in the city.

To stop Israel from killing potentially hundreds of thousands of people in the city, where 1.4 million people are sheltering following Israel’s obliteration of cities across Gaza, the US must “end all offensive military aid” to the country, Sanders said Monday.

“Now an assault is imminent,” Sanders said. “It will kill countless civilians. President Biden must back his words with action.”

The senator made his latest demand for an end to Israel’s US-backed assault on Gaza hours after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a forced evacuation of about 100,000 people in eastern Rafah, dropping leaflets that ordered displaced families to move to a strip of land along Gaza’s coast. An estimated 600,000 children are among the city’s current population.

Israel has killed scores of people in Rafah in recent weeks with airstrikes on residential areas. Last week, dozens of US House Democrats called on Biden to ensure a full-scale ground assault would not go forward, days before Israeli officials briefed the US—the world’s largest funder of the IDF—about its plan to forcibly expel people from the city .

Late last month Biden signed a foreign aid package that included $17 billion for Israel’s military—legislation that Sanders voted against.

Sanders reiterated his demand for Biden to end his support for the IDF as he announced his 2024 reelection campaign.

Along with the climate crisis, healthcare and prescription drug costs, and protecting US democracy, said Sanders, Israel’s assault on Gaza is “very much on the minds of Vermonters,” whom he has represented in the Senate since 2007.

While Israel had the right to defend itself against Hamas for its October 7 attack, Sanders said, “it did not and does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people, which is exactly what it is doing.”

“Thirty-four thousand Palestinians have already been killed and 77,000 have been wounded—70% of whom are women and children,” he added. “According to humanitarian organizations, famine and starvation are now imminent. In my view, US tax dollars should not be going to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people.”

Top Israeli officials including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir have pushed back against a potential cease-fire deal in recent days, with Smotrich saying last week that Israel must see to the “total annihilation” of cities in Gaza, including Rafah.

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Julia Conley

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.