Bernie Sanders says Israel shouldn’t receive ‘another nickel’ in US military aid after State Dept. report

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Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, said Israel shouldn’t receive ‘another nickel’ in U.S. military aid despite the findings of a recent State Department report. 

‘Any objective observer knows Israel has broken international law, it has broken American law, and in my view, Israel should not be receiving another nickel in U.S. military aid,’ Sanders said in an appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘Look the facts are quite clear. Hamas is a terrible disgusting terrorist organization that began this war. Though what Israel has done over the last seven months has not just gone to war against Hamas, it has gone to war against the entire Palestinian people. And results have been absolutely catastrophic.’

His remarks come in response to the U.S. State Department on Friday criticizing Israel’s use of U.S-supplied arms in a way that may be ‘inconsistent’ in ‘mitigating civilian harm’ in the war in Gaza. 

The finding of ‘reasonable’ evidence to conclude that the U.S. ally had breached international law protecting civilians in the way it conducted its war against Hamas was the strongest statement that the Biden administration has yet made on the matter. The report, which was sent to Congress on Friday and obtained by Fox News Digital, admitted that ‘Israel has had to confront an extraordinary military challenge: Hamas has embedded itself deliberately within and underneath the civilian population to use civilians as human shields.’

The report added that ‘it is often difficult to determine facts on the ground in an active war zone of this nature and the presence of legitimate military targets across Gaza.’

Citing figures from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian government, Sanders said approximately 35,000 Palestinians are dead, while another 77,000 are wounded – two thirds of whom are women and children. 

‘That is not the way you conduct a war in a civilized society to the degree that war is civilized,’ he continued. ‘We’re talking about 60% of the housing in Gaza having been destroyed. The civilian infrastructure – that is water, that is sewage now running out into the streets. No electricity. You are talking about a systematic destruction of the healthcare system there. Every university in Gaza has been bombed, and right now, most frighteningly, according to the humanitarian organizations, we are looking at the likelihood of hundreds of thousands of children facing starvation. 

Sanderds said that ‘any country that blocks U.S. humanitarian aid is in violation of law and should not continue to receive military aid from the United States.’ 

‘Meet the Press’ host Kristen Welker noted how 26 House Democrats recently sent a letter to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday, expressing that they are ‘ deeply concerned about the message the Administration is sending to Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist proxies by withholding weapons shipments to Israel, during a critical moment in the negotiations.’ 

‘Does withholding weapons to Israel run the risk of prolonging this war and weakening Israel’s hand against Hamas?’ Welker asked Sanders. 

‘Every Republican, as I understand it, wants to give huge amounts of money to Israel. My guess is many Republicans want Israel to go into Rafah despite the incredible humanitarian destruction that will cause. And there are Democrats who also feel that way,’ Sanders said. ‘That is not what the American people feel. Poll after poll suggests that the American people want an immediate ceasefire. They want massive humanitarian aid to get in. People of our country do not want to be complicit in the starvation of hundreds of thousands of children.’ 

‘In terms of the international community, we are increasingly isolated in terms of our support for Israel, who is becoming a pariah nation,’ he added. 

‘Is there a nonmilitary way to get rid of Hamas? Given the threat that they pose? Given that they say their very goal is to destroy Israel’s existence?’ Welker pushed back. 

 ‘You’re right… that is exactly right. That is their goal. It is difficult,’ Sanders said. ‘I don’t want to minimize this, so the goal is to defeat Hamas, but not to destroy or cause the enormous amount of destruction that we’re now seeing in Gaza. And I hope that the future for the Palestinian people is a new generation or Palestinian leaders who focus on allowing the people to have a state of their own.’ 

Fox News’ Brie Stimson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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