Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Sunday defended his decision to oppose a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, breaking with progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Progressive Squad members include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) and, who was censured last month, Rep. They include Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Her anti-Semitic cry of “from the river to the sea” is a slogan calling for the disappearance of the state of Israel and expresses her clear support for the Gaza ceasefire.
Appearing on CBS' “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sanders said he supports a humanitarian moratorium on Gaza, referring to a UN resolution that the US government unilaterally rejected at the UN Security Council on Friday. , made a special statement. But Hamas militants say they want “forever war.”
“First of all, I strongly support and hope that the United States will support the United Nations resolution that we recently vetoed,” Sanders said. “This was a humanitarian pause, a humanitarian ceasefire, which would have demanded the release of all hostages held by Hamas and allowed the United Nations and other agencies to begin delivering massive humanitarian aid.”Permanent In terms of a permanent ceasefire, I don't see how there can be a permanent ceasefire when Hamas says they want to destroy Israel before October 7th and after October 7th. It's a permanent war. I don't see how such an attitude can lead to a permanent ceasefire. ”
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“Squad” Democratic lawmakers gathered at the Capitol last week to slam the Israeli Defense Forces for targeting civilians and committing “genocide.”
Sanders said Israel “has the right to defend itself” against Hamas, but criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approach.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry reports that more than 17,000 people have been killed in Gaza, but does not distinguish between civilians and fighters. CBS host Margaret Brennan cited Israel reporting it has killed about 7,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip, but did not say how many civilians are believed to have died. do not have.
Sanders said that if his colleagues in Congress approve further unconditional funding to Israel in conflict, the U.S. will be complicit in “an all-out war against innocent men, women and children who have nothing to do with Hamas.” He insisted that he would. While Congress failed to pass aid for Israel amid a debate over funding for border security, Secretary of State Antony Blinken sidestepped both chambers of Congress and gave Netanyahu's government an emergency deal on additional tank ammunition. led the passage of the
The United States alone on Friday blocked a UN resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The vote by the 15-nation council was 13 to 1, with Britain abstaining. Blinken said Sunday that Israel must continue operations, but “it is essential that we protect civilians.”
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Brennan asked Sanders what he thought were “the Netanyahu government's intentions” at this stage of the conflict.
“It's hard to say,” Sanders said. “Maybe they're reacting in anger to the horrific, horrific Hamas attack that killed 1,200 innocent Israelis.” “Or maybe there was a goal in the minds of right-wing extremists to drive the Palestinians out of Gaza completely. But they have now destroyed about half of Gaza's homes. , it's hard to predict. But I think when Gene. [Defense Secretary Lloyd] Austin said you can win a battle but lose a war, and from the perspective of how the world views the situation, Israel is losing the war. And I think it would be irresponsible for the US to give Prime Minister Netanyahu another $10 billion to continue this terrible war. ”
Sanders also addressed concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could further divide the Democratic Party ahead of a presidential election year.
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“The American people are outraged by Hamas' attacks on Israel, and rightly so. But now they are equally outraged by what Israel is doing,” Sanders said on Sunday. “So you're seeing people all over this country saying, “Why would we give money to the Israeli government that's doing these terrible things?'' That would be politically damaging. Is that so? That may be the case.After all, I think so [President] Biden will win this election. But what is happening now is not helpful. ”