Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez headed a group of Democrats to introduce a resolution to block a $735 million arms sale to Israel.
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions,” Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. “At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence.”
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. is continuing to block the U.N. Security Council’s attempt to issue a press release calling for an end to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza. Biden has vocalized support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants. However, Biden also contends that Israel has a right to defend itself.
Reps. Mark Pocan, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Betty McCollum, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal and André Carson are also supporting Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts. They are calling on House Democrats to follow their lead.
On May 5, the Biden administration informed Congress that it approved the arms deal containing mostly Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The weapons can turn free-fall bombs into precision-guided missiles.
According to the Israeli military, Hamas has fired over 3,750 rockets toward Israel, killing 12 people, including two children. Gaza’s Ministry of Information claims that Israel has carried out more than 1,800 airstrikes killing at least 220 Palestinians, including more than 60 children.
Last month, a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found Israel guilty of committing acts of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians. The 213-page document accuses Israel of pursuing “apartheid” policies by attempting to preserve Jewish control over Palestinians and its Arab population.
“It is long past time to end the U.S. policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights,” Ocasio-Cortez, Pocan and Tlaib wrote to fellow Democrats. “The United States should be prioritizing humanitarian aid and upholding human rights, not rushing through arms sales that could fuel further violence.”
President Joe Biden has been careful not to voice any clear support of Israel, but some say approving an arms deal amid an ongoing war speaks volumes.