The US (In Palestine Today)- A group of progressive House Democrats have introduced a resolution aimed at stopping a $735 million weapons sale to Israel that the Biden administration approved two weeks ago.
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a statement. “At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence.”
The resolution is being led Rep. Ocasio Cortez, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). It’s currently cosponsored by Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) , Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WI), and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). Due to congressional rules on weapon sales, the lawmakers only have one day to potentially gain more cosponsors.
Earlier this week Rep. Tlaib confronted President Joe Biden on a tarmac in Detroit. She expressed her frustration over how he’s handled the situation and told him that Palestinians must be protected from violence. She has repeatedly criticized the administration’s response to the violence on her Twitter account.
“The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza,” said Tlaib in her own statement. Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world – the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians. You cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime, it’s that simple.”
As Phil Weiss notes at the site, the position of progressive Democrats is clearly shifting while Biden is trying to appease pro-Israel groups.
The resolution is being endorsed by over 70 organizations, including Defense for Children International – Palestine, Center for Constitutional Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Justice Democrats, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Project South, Palestine Legal, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), and IfNotNow:
Earlier this week House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) chair Gregory Meeks called for a delay on the weapons sale and declared that he would write Biden a letter asking for it to be paused. Many hailed the announcement as a watershed moment, but it was short-lived. Hours later Meeks announced that the sale would proceed.
The joint resolution of disapproval will likely be referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It’s unlikely to pass in HFAC, but the move will no doubt expand the rift developing within the Democratic party on the issue of Palestine.