By opposing a ceasefire in Israel’s battle against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has broken with the “progressive” left.
The Israeli military launched its conflict with Hamas after the October 7 massacre, in which three thousand terrorists crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip via land, air, and sea, killing 1,400 people (mainly civilians) and kidnapping at least 240 people while launching thousands of missiles at the country. Israel has threatened to demolish the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip and wipe out Hamas, the group that has dominated the territory since 2007. The IDF has been conducting airstrikes and a military operation against Hamas strongholds, claiming to be doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians.
Sanders, a Jewish senator from Vermont, is one of Israel’s harshest congressional critics. He has repeatedly criticized Netanyahu’s administration for its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and has even labeled Netanyahu’s government racist.
Sanders has changed his position from the past by dismissing calls for a ceasefire.
Sanders authored an opinion post for The New York Times in May 2021, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, arguing that “in this moment of crisis, the United States should be demanding a swift ceasefire.”
Israel has repeatedly advised residents to escape northern Gaza, where the majority of fighting against the ruling terror group is taking place, despite its rejection of requests for a humanitarian pause. Hamas has attempted to take advantage of the Rafah Crossing, through which humanitarian supplies have entered Gaza from Egypt, and of the wounded, who have been allowed to leave Gaza for medical treatment.
Sanders said on CNN, “We have to give hope to the Palestinian people,” and he echoed the Biden administration’s request for Israeli and Palestinian officials to return to the table to discuss a two-state solution if Hamas is removed.
Despite mounting calls from far-left lawmakers and others calling for a ceasefire, this step appears to be an attempt to demonstrate widespread support for Biden’s opposition to a ceasefire.