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Progressive Members of the Senate Have Criticized Netanyahu and Voiced Concerns About Weapons Transfers

Credits: CNN

A group of progressive Senate Democrats, including Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Brian Schatz, Ben Ray Lujan, and Martin Heinrich, sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing concerns about the reported plans to transfer additional weapons to Israel and criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

In the letter, the lawmakers emphasized the need for extreme caution and careful oversight regarding the transfer of U.S.-taxpayer financed weapons to Israel, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict.

They accused Netanyahu of prioritizing his own political interests over the well-being of the region and called for a shift in his government’s approach to prioritize the safe return of hostages and pursue peace.

Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu (Credits: Sky News Australia)

The senators called on the administration to use all available tools to prevent further escalation of military operations in Rafah and to provide additional humanitarian aid to Gaza.

They challenged assertions by the Netanyahu government regarding Hamas’ alleged theft of international aid and requested information on reports of potential violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by Israel.

The letter also called for written guarantees from Israel to comply with humanitarian aid efforts and international law before receiving any additional aid. It referenced the Biden administration’s new foreign aid conditions policy, which sets a 45-day deadline for such guarantees.

Notably, the letter frequently referred to the “Netanyahu government” or “Netanyahu coalition” rather than Israel directly, reflecting a trend among some left-wing lawmakers to distance themselves from the Israeli leadership without explicitly condemning the nation of Israel.

However, it acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself while emphasizing the need for restraint and adherence to international law. The senators’ stance aligns with recent calls from other Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Tim Kaine, who urged the administration to refrain from providing additional offensive weapons to Israel.

Overall, the letter underscores growing scrutiny and debate within the Democratic Party over U.S. military assistance to Israel amidst ongoing conflicts in the region.

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