In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) suggested that the same amount of money offered by the US to fund the Iron Dome – $1 billion – be transferred in the form of aid to Gaza, as well.
Sanders acknowledged that while Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system saves countless civilian lives, it is already fully funded, and the extra $1b. offered by the US is on top of $3.8b. already supplied to Israel from the US – more aid than to any other country.
He then stressed the damage caused to infrastructure in Gaza and Palestinian lives during Operation Guardian of the Walls this past May. Over 1,000 homes and Gaza’s only facility for COVID-19 testing were destroyed, 72,000 people were displaced, and water and sewage lines were destroyed, among other damages, the letter elaborated.
“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,” Sanders wrote.
The senator asked that the US stand for Palestinians to live in peace and security as well as Israelis. Previously, speaking at a debate in 2019, Sanders said it isn’t enough to be pro-Israel, “we must be pro-Palestinian, as well.”
The Vermont senator has a long history of criticizing Israel and the government’s stance towards Palestinians. Earlier this year, he criticized the Israeli government for sending COVID-19 vaccines to foreign allies before sending them to Palestinians and he introduced a resolution that would block the sale of $735 million worth of arms to Israel.