Another humanitarian disaster unfolding
by Senator Bernie Sanders
There have been five wars fought between Israel and its neighbors in the last fifteen years. Over that time, and before, there have been thousands of diplomats from around the world working on a variety of plans to bring peace and stability to the region, and hundreds of conferences. They have all failed.
Today, the situation in the area is more horrific, more brutal, more inhumane, and more dangerous than ever before. I wish I could tell you that I had some magic solution, or five-point plan to resolve this never-ending crisis. I don’t. But this I do know.
The barbarous terrorist act committed by Hamas against innocent men, women, and children in Israel was a horrific act that must be strongly condemned by the entire world. There is absolutely no justification for shooting down hundreds of young people at a music festival, killing babies in cold blood and taking hostages. In my view, the state of Israel has the absolute right to defend itself against Hamas’s terrorism.
It is also clear that this attack will only embolden the extremists on both sides who see violence as the only answer. It also creates the immediate possibility of a wider war in the area with unforeseen and dangerous consequences.
But in the midst of the terrorism, the missiles and bombs being exploded daily, and a hospital in Gaza being destroyed, there is another humanitarian disaster that is unfolding. Today, as a result of an Israeli evacuation order, hundreds of thousands of innocent and desperate people in Gaza are facing inhumane and life-threatening conditions. These are people who have been driven from their homes, who have no food, water, or fuel, who don’t know where they are going or who will accept them or if they will ever again return to their homes. And I would remind you that half of those people are children.
Last night, on the floor of the Senate, I blocked an effort on the part of some Republicans to prevent desperately needed humanitarian aid from the United Nations and other relief agencies from getting to these Palestinians.
In these very difficult times, we cannot turn our backs on these innocent men, women and children who are desperately trying to survive. That is not what this country must ever be about.
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