Monday, March 4, 2024

US Senate Democrats challenge Biden’s arms sale proposal to Israel: Report

Over a dozen Senate Democrats announced their intention to oppose US President Joe Biden’s proposal to bypass congressional review of arms sales to Israel.

Spearheaded by Senator Tim Kaine, this move reflects growing discontent within the Democratic Party, prompted by the significant civilian casualties from Israel’s military actions in Gaza, The Washington Post reported.

“I have strongly supported US aid necessary for Israel’s defence,” Kaine stated in a statement on Tuesday, “but all nations should be subject to the same standard”.

Currently, legislators are deliberating on Biden’s proposal for over $10bn in extra military aid for Israel, which is a portion of a larger $106bn supplementary budget request aimed at funding various national security projects.

Biden’s request, according to bill text released by the Senate Appropriations Committee, included a provision saying “any congressional notification requirement applicable to funds made available … for Israel may be waived if the Secretary of State determines that to do so is in the national security interest of the United States”.

A spokesperson for the Biden administration reiterated on Tuesday the White House’s opposition to a ceasefire that would end the war between Israel and Hamas, despite growing international pressure and catastrophic humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Biden and other top US officials are facing pressure from Muslim and leftist groups, including the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who are demanding that Washington take a tougher stance on Israel.

The Palestinian movement Hamas has stressed that Biden’s hands are soaked in the blood of Palestinian children in Gaza.

Voter support for US military aid to Israel has dropped amid the war in the Gaza Strip, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

Forty-five percent of registered voters said they supported the US sending additional “military aid to Israel for their efforts in the war” with Hamas. This is a drop from a previous Quinnipiac poll from November, in which 54 percent of registered voters said they supported additional military aid to Israel.

Support for additional military aid to Israel has also dropped among both Democratic and Republican voters, per the poll.

In November, 71 and 45 percent of Democratic and Republican voters said they were in favor of more military aid to Israel, respectively. In December, those numbers were down, with 65 percent of Republican voters and 36 percent of Democratic voters saying they supported more military aid to Israel.

At least 23,000 people have been killed in the besieged Gaza Strip since Israel began bombarding the enclave more than three months ago, according to Palestinian officials.

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