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US Senate rejects resolution on Israeli human rights violations in Gaza, military aid

Palestinian children look for salvageable items amid the destruction on the southern outskirts of Khan Yunis in the war-battered Gaza Strip on January 16, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The US Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed resolution that would have made military aid to Israel conditional to whether the regime is committing human rights violations in its war against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The resolution put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders failed to pass on Wednesday with 11 votes in favor and 72 votes against it, effectively killing the motion.

"We must ensure that US aid is being used in accordance with human rights and our own laws," Sanders said in a speech before the vote.

He went on to say that the vote was "necessary because of the scale of destruction in Gaza," describing Israel's operations in Gaza as a "humanitarian catastrophe."

He also stressed that Israel does not have a right to use military assistance from the United States to go to war against the entire Palestinian people.

In a statement before the vote, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he opposed the resolution because it "directly put at risk ongoing US support for Israel while they are at war” with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also said, "This resolution is not only off-base, it's dangerous. It sends absolutely the wrong signal at the wrong time."

Sanders’ proposed measure used a mechanism in the Foreign Assistance Act that would require the US State Department to send a report to Congress within 30 days on whether Israel’s war on Gaza is violating human rights and international accords.

If the administration fails to do so, US military aid to Israel could be quickly halted.

The White House had said it opposed the resolution, which could have paved the way toward the imposition of conditions on security assistance to Israel.

While the resolution was rejected, it reflected growing concern among some of US President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats over the supply of US weapons to Israel despite the heavy civilian death toll in Gaza.

Andrew O’Neill, the legislative director of Indivisible, one of the groups that backed the measure, described the measure as something of a victory, despite the defeat.

“The status quo in the Senate for decades has been 100% support for Israel’s military, 100% of the time from 100% of the Senate,” he said. “The fact that Sanders introduced this bill was already historic. That ten colleagues joined him is frankly remarkable.”

The latest development comes as anti-Israel sentiments are on the rise across the US as many keep calling on Biden to stop supporting the Israeli regime in its one-sided war against Gaza.

The US gives Israel $3.8 billion in military assistance each year. Biden has asked Congress to approve an additional $14 billion.

The Israeli regime waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

Since the start of the aggression, Israel has killed more than 24,280 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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