May 19, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a joint resolution Wednesday in opposition to U.S. weapons sales to Israel.
The resolution — also introduced by Reps. Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib — aims to stop the sale of $735 million worth of weapons to Israel that are currently in the process of being sold. Her resolution comes during the second week of violence between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group based in Gaza.
Ocasio-Cortez said the U.S. has played a role in the death and displacement of Palestinians through its arms trade with Israel.
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights,” she said. “In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions.”
The Queens-Bronx congresswoman urged the Biden administration to rethink the weapons sale. Many U.S.-made weapons are being used in the current conflict, she said.
“At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence,” she said.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes, while at least 10 Israelis have been killed by rockets launched by Hamas.
The approval of the pending weapons sale, according to Tlaib, would show the world that the U.S. doesn’t care about the lives of Palestinians.
“The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza,” Tlaib said in a statement.
“Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world – the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians.”
She also condemned Netanyahu’s administration in her statement.
“You cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime, it’s that simple,” she said.
Seven additional legislators have co-sponsored the legislation and more than 70 organizations have endorsed it. Reps. Cori Bush, Betty McCollum, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal and Andre Carson are all initial co-sponsors.
The Biden administration negotiated the multibillion-dollar sale with Israel before the current violence erupted. President Joe Biden has since asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “de-escalate” the conflict, but the sale is still moving forward.
The three legislators introduced the resolution following a news report that Queens Congress Member Gregory Meeks, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, had called for an emergency meeting with the committee to discuss the weapons sale.
Meeks was expected to send a letter to Biden requesting a delay of the sale so that lawmakers could have more time to review. He later decided not to call for the delay after the president agreed to speak to committee members on the matter, according to reports.
Ocasio-Cortez introduced the resolution days after she sent a series of tweets condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“Apartheid states aren’t democracies,” she wrote in one tweet.
In another tweet, she called out the Biden administration for not doing enough to bring the conflict to a halt.
This is happening with the support of the United States.
I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this. The US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire.
If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to?
How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights? https://t.co/bXY99O3Wqp
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 15, 2021