WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 2, 2023) — In response to the House of Representatives’ expected vote on a bill to fund military aid to Israel, Working Families Party Director of Federal Affairs Natalia Salgado said:
Soon, the House of Representatives will vote on an unconditional military funding package for Israel. To protect life — in Palestine, Israel, and beyond — we urge members of Congress to vote NO.
We continue to mourn the loss of 1,400 Israeli lives following the brutal attack by Hamas on October 7th and the more than 10,000 Palestinians killed by Israel’s ongoing air strikes and ground offensive. For the last month, WFP and its allies have been organizing around the clock to bring about an immediate ceasefire to stop further loss of civilian life and secure the safe return of the remaining hostages in Gaza. There is no military solution to this conflict, and there never has been.
Instead of working toward peace, this bill would enable the conflict’s expansion. The Israeli Defense Force and the right-wing Israeli government are openly committing war crimes as part of a military strategy that goes far beyond any plausible definition of self-defense. IDF tactics have included indiscriminate bombing, forced relocation of Palestinians, and a blockade on water, electricity, and fuel, all of which constitute collective punishment, which experts have characterized as clear violations of the laws of war and international human rights law. America could still support Israel’s self-defense without signing over $14 billion in unconditional military aid for its war. Far from contributing to the safety and security of Israel and Israelis, this funding will lead to an even more destructive and deadly war that will deprive Palestinians and Israelis of the possibility of living in peace, security, and dignity for generations to come.
Passing this unconditional military funding package would give Israel a green light and a blank check for further military actions that are killing thousands of Palestinians and discredit the United States in the eyes of billions across the world. It would endanger the hostages still in Gaza, some of whom are American citizens.
Worse, Israel’s campaign threatens a terrifying escalation of the conflict into a wider regional war that could lead to massive death and suffering. It could draw the U.S. directly into another Middle Eastern war. Our nation’s response to 9/11 cut short millions of lives and cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. The consequences of going to war with a large and militarily formidable country like Iran could be even more devastating.
A majority of Americans understand all this, and that’s why they oppose sending weapons to Israel even as they sympathize with Israel and Israelis in the wake of Hamas’ attacks. Over the last month, the cries for de-escalation and ceasefire have grown from the United Nations Secretary-General to the World Health Organization to the Pope. In the United States, eighteen brave members of Congress have sounded the call.
The U.S. could play a powerfully constructive role in this conflict. Instead of enabling far-right Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign of collective punishment, the Biden Administration could use its diplomatic and financial leverage to bring parties to the table to negotiate peace. The Center for International Policy has published recommendations for how to get there.
President Biden has lately indicated that he believes there should be a pause in Israel’s military incursion and expressed concern for Palestinian civilians. Passing billions in unconditional aid completely contradicts that message of restraint and all but ensures the war will not just continue but escalate. It makes American citizens and our government responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians and for any widening of this war.
For all these reasons, we urge Congress to take a stand for peace and vote no.