88 House Democrats urge Biden to lean harder on Israel

AFP , Saturday 4 May 2024

Scores of Democrats in the US House on Friday urged President Joe Biden to consider halting arms sales to Israel if it does not alter the conduct of its war against Hamas.

Biden Gaza
A protester interrupts President Joe Biden during an event on the campus of George Mason University in Manassas, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. AP


A letter signed by 88 Democratic members of Congress and delivered to the White House ratchets up pressure on Biden to take a firmer stance toward Israel, a staunch ally.

The lawmakers voiced "serious concerns regarding the Israeli government's conduct of the war in Gaza as it pertains to the deliberate withholding of humanitarian aid."

Israel's restrictions on US-backed humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza "have contributed to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe," the letter said, citing the US Agency for International Development.

The lawmakers urged Biden to make clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that any impediment to aid delivery to Gaza was "risking its eligibility for further offensive security assistance from the United States."

The letter said any US funding halt should not include missile defense systems such as the Iron Dome.

"We continue to strongly support providing such lifesaving defensive funding to Israel," the letter said.

Those signing the letter included Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, Biden has faced criticism for his unconditional support for Israel.

But pressure on him has mounted as rowdy protests by students have shaken US university campuses and garnered headlines, months before Biden seeks re-election.

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