Bernie Sanders Moves to Block U.S. Arms Sale to Israel

U.S. Senate has to vote on the proposal to thwart a pending $735 million arms sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel, which is unlikely to succeed

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Bernie Sanders
Bernie SandersCredit: Melina Mara,AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce a resolution of disapproval on Thursday regarding the pending $735 million arms sale to Israel.

The resolution, first reported by the Washington Post, comes one day after Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan introduced a similar resolution in the House.

“At a moment when U.S.-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 told the Washington Post. “I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians. 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.”

The sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits that transform bombs into precision-guided missiles and Guided Bomb Unit-39s (GBU-39), a weapon developed for penetrating fortified facilities located deep underground, is slated to go into effect on Thursday, though Congress has the power to block or modify the sale up to the time of delivery.

Unlike the House resolution – which was unlikely to pass due to timing and the fact that it would be referred back to committee in any event – Senate rules stipulate that the Sanders resolution will indeed get a vote according to procedures outlined by U.S. law regarding international arms sales.

Both resolutions are unlikely to block the sale successfully, though they are in conjunction the first attempts by members of Congress to block arms sales to Israel. They will probably foster further debate and place a brighter spotlight on the conversation surrounding U.S. military aid 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 said regarding her resolution. “At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a cease-fire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence.”

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