Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called President Joe Biden’s red-line warning to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. will stop sending offensive weapons to the country if it goes ahead with its plan to invade Rafah in southern Gaza, a “good step forward,” but noted his comments don’t go far enough.

While Sanders welcomed Biden’s words, he urged the president to take further action to address the humanitarian disaster in Gaza as the war has so far killed over 34,000 Palestinians, according to local officials.

“I think it’s a good step forward,” Sanders told CNN’s “The Source.” “I think we’ve got to do even more.”

During the interview, Sanders blasted Netanyahu, saying what he “has done in Gaza is unconscionable.”

“In my view, Netanyahu should not have gotten a nickel so long as he continued this incredibly destructive war,” Sanders said. “I’m glad to see that the president is beginning, beginning to move in that direction.”

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett earlier Wednesday, Biden said the U.S. would stop providing Israel with offensive weaponry if the country goes ahead with the plan to go into Rafah, where over 1 million Palestinians have sought refuge since the war broke out.

The U.S. has repeatedly urged Israel to reconsider but Netanyahu has vowed to press on.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah ― they haven’t gone in Rafah yet ― if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities,” Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday.

Still, Biden added that the U.S. would continue to support Israel’s defense.

Sanders said that while many recognized that Israel had a right to defend itself following the Oct. 7 attack when Hamas militants killed over 1,200 Israelis and took about 250 people hostage, Israelis “don’t have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people.”

Sanders continued, “America should not be complicit in what is going on there right now.”

He added that Biden should have placed conditions on aid for Israel sooner, noting that the U.S. should use the leverage it has over being a major aid supplier to the country.

Biden last month signed a foreign aid package, including $26.4 billion in aid to Israel and $1 billion for humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed Wednesday the U.S. paused a major shipment of bombs to Israel over the country’s plans to go ahead with its Rafah offensive but the Biden administration has said the delayed shipments aren’t part of the aid dedicated to Israel through the supplemental package. The action, though, prompted the ire of Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sanders earlier this week announced he would seek reelection for another term in office.


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