Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suggested Sunday that Israel should change its strategy if it wanted more aid from the United States, pointing to the thousands of reported civilian deaths in Gaza.
“So once again, the immediate concern is you gotta have a pause in the bombing,” Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “You got to take care of immediate disaster. Israel’s got to change their strategy. Let me just say this, the United States of America provides $3.8 billion every year to Israel.”
“But we have a right to say ‘Sorry, you need a new military strategy. go after Hamas, but that means — but do not kill innocent men, women and children,” he added.
When pressed further on whether he would support sending additional aid to Israel, he said he would have to look at what the bill proposes. He reiterated the need for Israel to cease its bombing of Gaza and find a different way to eliminate Hamas.
The House passed a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel that is expected to fail in the Democrat-controlled Senate since it also includes $14.3 billion in cuts to the IRS. The Senate is expected to put forward a bill that includes aid for both Israel and Ukraine.
We’ll see what the bill looks like but I think it’s terribly important as we debate, saying to Israel, ‘You want this money you got to change your military strategy,'” Sanders said before urging for a two-state solution for the conflict.
“The other point is, we have to give hope to the Palestinian people. They are living — they were living before October 7 in a disastrous situation in Gaza, 75 percent youth unemployment, massive poverty,” he said.
And right now in Israel, you’re having the Netanyahu government, an extreme right-wing government, with racists aboard, trying to make it impossible for a two-state solution in the West Bank,” he added. “They’re killing settlers there. So what we need is the world to come together to give hope to the Palestinians. We need a two-state solution.”
The Gaza Health Ministry said that the Palestinian death toll reached 9,700 as of Sunday, including thousands more injured. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Oct. 7 attack. Hamas also took more than 200 people as hostages, the majority of which it is still holding.