More Democrats sign letter urging Biden to halt weapons transfer to Israel

Democratic Representative from Wisconsin, Congressman Mark Pocan, has revealed that 16 additional Democrats have signed a letter urging US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to halt all weapons transfers to Israel which is accused of carrying out genocide in Gaza.

Pocan expressed optimism about the momentum, stating on Monday: “Big news! Our letter to withhold offensive arms transfers to Israel has picked up steam today. We have added 16 signers for our final push — 56 Members of Congress total. A shift is underway!”

The decision points to unease and concerns within the Democratic Party regarding the ongoing conflict in the Middle East amid heavy Palestinian casualties at the hands of invading Israeli troops and US weapons both.

Last week, former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a key ally of President Biden, joined dozens of congressional Democrats in signing the letter.

The letter not only calls for a cessation of weapons transfers but also urges the White House to conduct an independent investigation into an Israeli air strike that resulted in the deaths of seven staff members, six of them foreigners, from the aid organisation World Central Kitchen.

Pelosi’s involvement signals a significant alignment of influential figures within the party behind the push for policy changes regarding US support for Israel.

The letter has drawn support from a range of high-profile Democrats, including Representatives Barbara Lee, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Their backing also underscores a broader shift within the Democratic Party, reflecting a growing sentiment among lawmakers to reassess US-Israel relations and advocate for a more balanced approach in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As tensions in the region continue to escalate, the fresh developments have imposed increasing pressure on the Biden administration to reconsider its stance on military aid to Israel and prioritise diplomatic efforts toward achieving lasting peace in Gaza.

“In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these [new] weapons transfers,” the letter highlights.

The backdrop and genocide charges

The Palestinian resistance group Hamas says its October 7 blitz on Israel that surprised its arch-enemy was orchestrated in response to Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque, illegal settler violence in occupied West Bank and to put Palestine question “back on the table.”

In an assault of startling breadth, Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside Gaza, including towns and other communities as far as 24 kilometres from the Gaza fence. In some places they are said to have gunned down many soldiers as Israel’s military scrambled to muster response.

The hours-long attack resulted in the killing of more than 1,130 people, Israeli officials and local media say.

Palestinian fighters took more than 250 hostages and presently 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who the Israeli army says are dead, some of them killed by indiscriminate Israeli strikes. Dozens of the captives were later exchanged for Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails for years.

Since then, Israel has been carrying out scorched-earth bombing of Gaza from air, land and sea, killing more than 33,200 Palestinians, mostly children and women, wounding nearly 76,000 and displacing most of 2.3 million people in the tiny coastal enclave. More than 8,000 Palestinians are believed to be dead or missing under the debris of bombed buildings and homes.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.4 million population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 percent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to do more to prevent starvation crisis in Gaza. Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in the Palestinian territories, said recently there were reasonable grounds to believe Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

(Source: TRT World)