Senator Bernie Sanders has taken a firm stance, accusing Israel of breaching international law in response to Hamas’s recent attack.
Sanders, a prominent Jewish American politician, emphasized that Gaza has long been akin to an open-air prison, where millions struggle to obtain basic necessities.
After Hamas’s attack, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant enforced a “complete siege” on Gaza, which included withholding essentials like electricity, food, and fuel from its approximately 2 million inhabitants.
Sanders condemned this action as a serious violation of international law, asserting that targeting civilians, irrespective of the circumstances, amounts to a war crime according to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
Sanders also reiterated his disapproval of the Hamas attack, describing it as a major setback for peace and justice in the region. While President Joe Biden and other lawmakers expressed unwavering support for Israel, Sanders argued that the US should demand restraint from Israeli forces in their actions against Gaza.
As one of the most notable Jewish politicians in the United States, Sanders has consistently been more critical of Israel, even during his presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020.
He has previously proposed placing conditions on American aid to Israel, an idea considered controversial in Washington.
Sanders’ views align with those of progressive House members known as the “Squad,” who have called for a cease-fire in response to the Hamas attack.
Some of these lawmakers have also used the term “apartheid” to describe Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, a terminology often used by international human rights organizations but less embraced by American politicians.
As the conflict continues, the ongoing divisions within the Democratic Party regarding the US-Israel relationship are likely to become more pronounced.