Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has agreed to support a bill to provide $1 billion in emergency funding to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.
But the senator’s support did not come without a price.
Sanders only agreed to support the aid for Israel’s defense after he was assured by New York senior Senator Chuck Schumer there will be additional humanitarian aid for Gaza, according to a report by Jewish Currents.
Sanders wrote in a letter to Schumer on September 29, that it is “important to acknowledge that the Iron Dome system saves civilian lives from missile attacks.”
But he added, “Let’s be clear, however: According to the terms of the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, the Iron Dome system was already fully funded… Contrary to what some have claimed, Iron Dome has never been at risk of being defunded or decommissioned.
“If the goal of this supplemental funding is to help Israel replenish Iron Dome after the war that took place in May, it would be irresponsible if we do not at the same time address the enormous destruction and suffering that that war caused the Palestinians in Gaza.”
Note that Sanders adroitly sidesteps the fact that it was the Gazans who started that war, and who aimed their missiles first at the Israeli capital, Jerusalem, during an event they knew had drawn thousands of Israeli civilians into the streets of the city.
“For us to provide an additional billion dollars in aid to Israel while ignoring the suffering of people in Gaza would be unconscionable and irresponsible,” he wrote.
“Just as we stand with the Israeli people’s right to live in peace and security, we must do so for the Palestinian people as well.”
Sanders asked Schumer to “work with the Appropriations Committee to ensure that the same amount, $1 billion in assistance for the Palestinian people in Gaza be provided in FY 2022 appropriations through an increased overall 302(b) allocation for the State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs budget.”
Also on Thursday Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul again blocked the effort to fast-track the bill in the Senate, for the third time.
Because the Kentucky senator successfully sabotaged the effort to “hotline” the bill, it may be some time before the legislation reaches the floor for a vote.