US Senate rejects linking Israeli aid to human rights

The United States Senate defeated a resolution proposing the imposition of conditions on security assistance to Israel.

Senators rejected the motion by an overwhelming margin late on Tuesday. The request would have been for the cessation of security assistance to Israel until the Department of State generates a report investigating potential human rights violations committed by Israel during its operation in Gaza, with a timeframe of 30 days.

Seventy-two senators voted to table the resolution, compared to eleven who supported it, easily obtaining the simple majority in the one hundred-member chamber required to reject the resolution.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats, coerced the vote. Despite the resolution’s resounding defeat, it mirrored the increasing apprehension of certain Democrats, particularly those on the left of President Joe Biden, regarding the ongoing provision of American weaponry to Israel in defiance of the Palestinian civilian casualties caused by the Gaza conflict.

Sanders emphasized the importance of ensuring that United States aid is utilized in adherence to domestic legislation and human rights principles when pleading for support of the resolution. His sadness was directed at the Senate’s lack of deliberation on any measure examining the impact of the conflict on civilians.

Opposition to Security Assistance Resolution

The resolution in question had been met with opposition from the White House and had the potential to facilitate the imposition of conditions on security assistance to Israel.

Opposition senators argued that the measure conveyed an inappropriate message during a period when Israel was purportedly transitioning to a more targeted campaign approach.

“This resolution is not only irrational but also perilous.” It sends an entirely inappropriate message at an inopportune time, according to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

In recent years, the United States has provided Israel with an annual army contribution of $3.8 billion, which has included fighter aircraft and potent bombs. Amid the conflict in Gaza, President Joe Biden has requested $14 billion from Congress.

“Unable to turn away”

The Foreign Assistance Act, under which Sanders’s resolution was introduced, authorizes Congress to request the state to furnish a human rights report and additional data about any nation that receives security assistance from the United States.

“Before our very eyes, hundreds of thousands of innocent children in Gaza are starved to death. We can’t turn aside. “Action is required,” Sanders stated.

“Unfortunately, in spite of the endeavors of the United Nations and other stakeholders, and in spite of the escalating humanitarian crisis at hand, the situation regarding the delivery of aid to the vulnerable population, particularly these children, has deteriorated.”

Had the resolution been approved, it would have mandated that the State Department furnish Congress with a report within thirty days. The Congress could have contemplated an additional resolution suggesting modifications to Israel’s security assistance after receipt of the report.

Sanders’ approach has been deemed “impracticable” by the White House, in keeping with the Biden administration’s efforts to secure domestic and international support in the face of a strong backlash against the horrific images from Gaza and to achieve a transition away from Israel.

Humanitarian Crisis Amid Gaza’s Siege

The Biden administration asserts that it has exerted pressure on Israel to reduce civilian casualties. Still, Israel maintains that it will not rest until Hamas, the coastal enclave’s governing organization, is eradicated.

On October 7, Hamas launched an unexpected assault across the border fence, precipitating a bloody uprising that claimed the lives of 1,139 individuals.

According to the most recent tally by health authorities in Gaza, at least 24,285 people have been slain in the besieged enclave as a result of Israeli attacks. It is suspected that thousands more bodies have been lost in the rubble.

Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been uprooted by Israel’s siege, some numerous times. Furthermore, the bombardment has precipitated a humanitarian crisis, as provisions of food, fuel, and medical supplies are running short.

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