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Sen. Sanders ends bid to block US weapons sale to Israel

Sen. Bernie Sanders (VA/Robert Turtil)

Sen. Bernie Sanders has reportedly canceled an attempt to block a $735 million arms sale to Israel authorized by the US government.

The Wall Street Journal report cited a Sanders aide who said the State Department had already finalized the sale and it was unclear whether legislation could prevent it.

Sanders, who staged high-profile presidential bids in 2016 and 2020, is a frequent critic of the Israeli government, alongside other popular Democrats from the progressive wing of the party.

He previously said “the provision of US military aid must not enable human rights abuses,” before introducing legislation to prevent the sale.

“At a moment when US-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a Congressional debate,” he said last week.

“I believe that the US must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians. We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict.”

The Vermont senator’s legislation was designed to target “defense articles, defense services and technical data” provided to the Israeli military by the US.

Earlier this month, the US blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a statement condemning Israeli military airstrikes against the Gaza Strip that left hundreds of people dead and thousands homeless.

When asked to comment on the weapons sale, a State Department spokesperson said it is “legally restricted from commenting on details of individual export licensing cases.”

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