US senator demands ‘real action’ against Netanyahu

Published April 2, 2024
Beirut: Hezbollah fighters and mourners carry the coffin of Ahmed Shehimi during his funeral procession on Monday. Shehimi was killed in an Israeli attack in Syria last week.—AFP
Beirut: Hezbollah fighters and mourners carry the coffin of Ahmed Shehimi during his funeral procession on Monday. Shehimi was killed in an Israeli attack in Syria last week.—AFP

WASHINGTON: A Democratic senator has urged US President Joe Biden to take “real action” against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued refusal to comply with his requests to increase humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Biden “needs to back up his ‘no excuses’ language with real action.”

The senator has also urged the Biden administration to reconsider sending offensive weapons to Israel because of Israeli actions against civilians in Gaza and its expected invasion of Rafah.

“My view is until the Netanyahu government allows more assistance into Gaza, to help people who are literally starving to death, we should not be sending more bombs,” Van Hollen said.

Asked what additional steps he’d like to see from the administration, given Netanyahu’s resolve to invade Rafah, Van Hollen said there needs to be a “two-way street, not a one-way blank check with American taxpayer dollars.”

“I think we need to better utilise our leverage. We have different parts of leverage and one of them is sending more offensive weapons.” President Biden, he said, “needs to be as serious about ensuring more humanitarian assistance gets into Gaza as Netanyahu has been in making his demands.”

Asked if he considers Netanyahu a war criminal, Van Hollen said: “We’re going to have to make a decision as to what the intent of the full Israel government is … ultimately, that will have to be decided down the road,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2024

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