WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) filed an amendment that would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to advance Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza. Senator Welch released the following statement after filing the amendment:
“In the early stages of this conflict, thousands of bombs were dropped on Gaza. This bombing campaign created a staggering humanitarian catastrophe. Under international humanitarian law, Israel has an obligation to protect civilians in Gaza, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has failed to do so. A military campaign which involves blanketing civilian infrastructure in Gaza with bombs—including hospitals, schools, churches, and refugee camps—is inconsistent with international humanitarian law.
“That is why I filed an amendment to the National Security Supplemental to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to support the procurement of, or for the transfer, inspection, assembly, testing, or shipment of general purpose bombs for use in Gaza.
“We must support Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state, the creation of a Palestinian state and lasting regional stability. If we are going to send funds to Israel, we must do so in a way that allows Israel to remove Hamas from military control of Gaza and return Israeli hostages. Providing funding for more bombs to fall on Palestinian civilians is counterproductive to U.S. foreign policy objectives and will only lead to more loss of life, more devastation and more destruction. And it certainly won’t advance peace,” said Welch.
The amendment filed by Senator Welch is cosponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
Senator Welch has been outspoken about the bombing campaign, loss of civilian life, and humanitarian crisis in Gaza since the early days of the conflict. In November, he called for an indefinite ceasefire to stop the bombing, prevent further loss of civilian life, extend access to humanitarian relief to those who had been displaced, and continue negotiations to secure hostages.
This week, Senator Welch joined his colleagues in celebrating the White House’s announcement of a new National Security Memorandum (NSM), which was developed following the release of an amendment introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), which ensures U.S. security assistance is used in accordance with international law and builds on the longstanding human rights Leahy Law, crafted by Sen. Welch’s predecessor Sen. Patrick Leahy.
Earlier this month, Senator Welch applauded President Biden’s decision to sanction individuals undermining security in the West Bank, calling the decision, “necessary and long-overdue.”
Last month, Senator Welch submitted a statement to the Congressional Record regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In November, Senator Welch joined his colleagues in urging President Biden to work with Israel and international partners to implement a plan to protect innocent civilian life in Gaza, deliver sustained humanitarian aid, work toward the long-term goals of ending Hamas’s threat, and achieve sustainable peace in the region through a two-state solution.
Full text of the amendment can be found here.