(MENAFN) United States Senator Bernie Sanders has taken a bold stance within the Democratic Party, urging his colleagues to remove more than USD10 billion in military aid to Israel from an upcoming spending bill. In a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Sanders expressed his opposition to allocating funds that, in his view, would make the United States complicit in what he referred to as Israel's "immoral" war in Gaza.
The spending bill, set to be put to a vote on Wednesday as announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, encompasses a total of USD106 billion. The bill, requested by President Joe Biden, includes $10.1 billion in direct military aid to Israel, over USD61 billion for Ukraine, and USD13.6 billion for domestic border protection.
Sanders specifically targeted the proposed military aid to Israel, criticizing the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "right-wing extremist" regime. He argued that allocating over USD10 billion to support the current military approach of the Netanyahu government is unjustifiable, given his assertion that such actions are immoral and in violation of international law.
The ongoing conflict in Gaza, which prompted Sanders' impassioned plea, began in early October when Israeli forces responded to a surprise attack by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group. Subsequent escalations led to the deployment of Israeli tanks and troops into Gaza three weeks later. As fighting resumed after a weeklong ceasefire at the end of November, the Gaza Health Ministry reported over 16,000 Palestinians killed, with more than 7,000 of those being children.
Sanders' call to reconsider military aid to Israel adds a significant voice to the debate within the Democratic Party, shedding light on the complex dynamics surrounding United States foreign policy and the ethical considerations tied to international conflicts. The upcoming vote on the spending bill is now poised to be a focal point for discussions on the moral implications of financial support for allies engaged in controversial military actions.
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