Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Progressive Democrats plan effort to block $735M Israeli arms sale - AA

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Progressive House Democrats introduced a measure on Wednesday to block a proposed sale of $735 million worth of precision-guided munitions to Israel.

Progressive stalwart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is spearheading the resolution of disapproval along with representatives Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib.

It seeks to prohibit the proposed $735 million sale, largely consisting of what are known as Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which convert "dumb bombs" into precision-guided weapons.

“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 said 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," she added.

US President Joe Biden previously approved the sale on May 5, but Israel's ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip has prompted some of his fellow Democrats to strongly oppose it.

The measure is almost certain to fail with the congressional review period for the sale closing on Friday. But it will nonetheless serve as a symbolic gesture of growing opposition to US military aid for Israel among Democrats...


 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of any halt to 10 days of fighting in public remarks at a briefing to foreign ambassadors to Israel on Wednesday, saying it was engaged in "forceful deterrence" to prevent future conflict with Hamas.

 In a statement released later in the day, Netanyahu said: "I am determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved - to restore quiet and security to you, the citizens of Israel."

 This pushes back against calls from the United States to end the fighting that has left hundreds dead. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza on Wednesday as Israel continued to pound targets in the territory with airstrikes. 

At least 227 Palestinians have been killed, including 64 children and 38 women, with 1,620 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, have been killed.


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  1. Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the United States for selling arms to Israel in a tweet on Wednesday, claiming that Israel targets Gazan "media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing."

    1. "We have a responsibility to protect human rights," she concluded.
      Ocasio-Cortez called Israel an apartheid state in a tweet on Saturday that marked an inflection point in her increasing criticism of Israel.
      “Apartheid states aren’t democracies,” she wrote in a tweet that garnered 275,000 likes.
      Ocasio-Cortez has been unabashedly critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies since joining Congress in 2018 but has stopped short of endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that her colleagues Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib champion.


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