Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday registered his displeasure with Israel’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was forced to launch a military campaign against Hamas following the terror group’s attack on the Jewish state that left hundreds dead, including civilian women and children as young as one. The IDF carried out several airstrikes on various Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Stripes. The strikes have left several Palestinian women and children dead or homeless.
Sanders, during a Monday appearance on CBS News, criticized the IDF’s response while adding that the Jewish nation has no right to kill Palestinians.
“Well, this was how I respond. Look, Israel was attacked in an absolutely horrific way by Hamas, 1,300 innocent people were slaughtered. Israel has a right to defend itself, but what Israel does not have a right to do, in my view, is to kill 12,000 people in six, seven weeks, two-thirds of whom are women and children. That they don’t have the right to do, that’s a violation of international law,” Sanders said. “The United States has always provided support for Israel. I think we have to continue to make sure that Israel can defend itself, but we also have a right to say to Israel, I’m sorry, you can’t just do all kinds of bombing which are killing innocent men, women and children. And also, in talking to a very right-wing Netanyahu government, we have got to say, you know what, we need some thoughts and movement forward toward a two-state solution to deal with the crisis in the West Bank, where Palestinians are being thrown off of their land and are being killed. So we need, in my view, to say, if you want money from the United States, you know what, you got to hear what we want as well. We just can’t get a blank check.”
The IDF had sought to minimize civilian casualties by warning civilians to evacuate the areas they were targeting. However, some of those civilians refused to leave. The ones who attempted to leave were reportedly stopped by Hamas who used them as human shields.
How concerned are the Israelis about the rising death toll in Gaza?
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There is also skepticism surrounding the numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties. Many have expressed that those figures were inflated by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health for propaganda reasons.