Sanders planning resolution to block arms sale to Israel

Sanders planning resolution to block arms sale to Israel
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle 'The land is us' — Tribal activist turns from Keystone XL to Line 3 MORE (I-Vt.) will introduce a resolution Thursday in an effort to block the planned sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel amid escalating tensions in the Middle East.

“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 statement obtained by The Hill.

"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,” he added.

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The Washington Post first reported Sanders's resolution.

The resolution only requires a simple majority to pass the Senate, the Post noted, adding that it would need a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House if it is vetoed by President BidenJoe BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE.

An unidentified source told the newspaper that Sanders’s measure “starts the ball rolling with the Senate voting in one way or another on this sale to Israel.”

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: 'More than enough' votes to prevent infrastructure from passing without reconciliation bill Manchin: 'I can't really guarantee anybody' reconciliation package will pass Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE (N.Y.), Mark PocanMark William PocanLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals Overnight Defense: 6B Pentagon spending bill advances | Navy secretary nominee glides through hearing | Obstacles mount in Capitol security funding fight House panel advances 6B Pentagon bill on party-line vote MORE (Wis.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators House passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (Mich.) introduced a resolution in the House on Wednesday aimed at blocking the sale of joint direct attack munitions and small diameter bombs to Israel. However, the resolution is seen as largely symbolic as Democratic leaders in the chamber who support the sale are not expected to give the measure a vote.

“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,” Ocasio-Cortez in a statement announcing the resolution.

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The Post noted that lawmakers have never successfully blocked a proposed arms sale through a joint resolution of disapproval. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE vetoed three resolutions passed by lawmakers in 2019 seeking to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Biden on Wednesday told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE that he expected a “significant de-escalation” in the violence between Israel and Hamas to put the conflict, which is in its second week, “on the path to a ceasefire.”

Following the call, Netanyahu said that he is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met."

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City resumed on Thursday after a brief pause.

The Biden administration notified Congress on May 5 that it approved the sale to Israel. Most arms sales require a 30-day congressional review period, but some U.S. allies, including Israel, are granted a 15-day review period. 

Updated at 8:17 a.m.