Mar 10, 2024 - World

Sanders: U.S. putting conditions on aid for Israel would be "the right thing to do"

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the Biden administration to suspend or condition aid to Israel during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Why it matters: Sanders' remarks come amid a growing rift between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel's strategy in Gaza.

The big picture: "We are looking at the possibility of hundreds of thousands of children starving to death. The United States of America cannot be complicit in this mass slaughter of children," Sanders said.

  • The U.S. has continuously provided billions of dollars of aid to Israel over the years and there are plans to keep providing aid to the country.
  • Asked by "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan if it's likely that the U.S. would halt or condition aid to one of its closest allies in the Middle East in an election year, Sanders replied that it would be the "right thing to do."
  • "You can't beg Netanyahu. You have to tell him 'if you want any money, you have to change your policy. Allow the trucks to come in to feed the children,'" he said.
  • "Stopping American humanitarian aid is in violation of the law. That should be clear. No more money to Netanyahu's war machine to kill Palestinian children," Sanders said, referencing the Foreign Assistance Act, which restricts additional humanitarian aid if a country is found to restrict delivery.

State of play: Biden was caught on a hot mic on Thursday night promising to get tough with Netanyahu, telling a Democratic senator after his State of the Union address that he was going to have "a come-to-Jesus meeting" with Israel's prime minister about the situation in Gaza.

  • The Biden administration has faced criticism from progressives over the president's support for Israel.
  • While Biden is resolute in his determination to stick with Israel, he has begun to break with the Netanyahu government and its war strategy in Gaza.
  • Dozens of House Democrats have argued to Biden that a possible Israeli operation in Rafah would violate a policy that U.S. military aid be used in accordance with international law.
  • Biden recently told MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart that the Rafah operation would be a "red line" — but did not specify the consequences should it proceed.
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