By Guy Page
With Israel under rocket attack by the Palestinian military, Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced a resolution to block $735 million of future sales of precision-guided munitions to Israel.
The resolution comes 10 days after Palestinian Hamas initiated the conflict with rocket attacks on Israel, prompting defensive retaliation. Despite international calls for a cease-fire, air attacks from both sides continue.
Here’s a timeline of what has happened leading up to Sanders’ resolution:
May 6 – Palestinian protests began in Jerusalem over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel on the eviction of six Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
May 7 – Israeli police stormed the compound of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against stone-throwing Palestinians. The confrontations occurred ahead of a planned Jerusalem Day march by far-right Jewish nationalists that was later canceled.
May 10 – two Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, began firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, hitting multiple residences and a school. Israel responds with deadly, destructive air strikes. Hamas continues the rocket attacks. Israel maintains the counter-attacks.
May 19 – President Biden tells Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he expects Israeli de-escalation and a ceasefire. Biden is under pressure from the Progressive ‘left’ of the Democratic Party, which sees the Palestinians as oppressed people fighting for their freedom against ‘apartheid’ Israel. Supporters of Israel insist that Hamas must be willing to work towards a peaceful solution that protects Israel’s national integrity and security.
May 20 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday introduces a joint Senate-House resolution blocking the recent sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and other ‘progressive’ House members are co-sponsors. It is not known as of this writing if Sen. Leahy and Rep. Welch have signed onto this legislation.
“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 said in a press statement. “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 resolution would prohibit “transfers to Israel” of “Joint Direct Attack Munition variants and Small Diameter Bomb Increment variants for end use by the Ministry of Defense for Israel.”
A resolution condemning Hamas’ initiation of hostilities on Israel and affirming continued defense spending was introduced May 13. All 40 co-sponsors of H396 are Republicans.
(Timeline developed with material from Wikipedia, NBC.)