Sanders Tries to Hold Up Arms Sale to Israel

Senator wants a debate, at least, before the deal goes through
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 4:45 PM CDT
Sanders Introduces Resolution Against $735M Arms Sale to Israel
Sen. Bernie Sanders listens as President Biden speaks to a joint session of Congress last month.   (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – On the same day that a cease-fire was announced in the Middle East, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution to block a $735 million arms sale to Israel. "At a moment when US-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate," Sanders said in a statement, CBS reports. A similar resolution was introduced in the House, per the Washington Post. "For decades, the US has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights," said Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. "In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions." The deal is for precision-guided weapons.

Putting a stop to a planned arms sale would be historic. Congress has passed resolutions of disapproval but never prevented a weapons sale. Three such resolutions passed in 2019, but former President Trump vetoed all of them. The US should be helping bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Sanders said, adding. "We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict." A simple majority is all the measure needs to pass in the Senate. If President Biden were to veto it, it would take a two-thirds vote in both chambers for the resolution to take effect. "The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable," Sanders told the Senate on Wednesday. Republicans, on the other hand, have argued that Biden hasn't done enough to show his support for Israel. (Read more arms sales stories.)

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