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More US senators back ceasefire move in Congress

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WASHINGTON: Five US Senators have endorsed an amendment that could link military aid to Israel, aligning with increasing calls for a Gaza ceasefire.

This follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outright rejection of a Palestinian state. The new supporters include Democratic Senators Tina Smith, Raphael Warnock, LaPhonza Butler, Tammy Baldwin, and Jon Ossoff, bringing the total backing Senator Chris Van Hollen’s amendment to 18, over a third of the Senate Democratic caucus.

Van Hollen’s amendment, calling for a ceasefire and a two-state solution, also aims to ensure the responsible use of US weapons by Israel.

The growing support reflects concerns about Israel’s stance impacting Democratic allies as the Palestinian death toll rises. Despite criticism, the Biden administration has done little to rein in the Israeli offensive.

Tensions between the Biden administration and Israel have escalated since October, last year. Netanyahu openly opposes steps toward a Palestinian state, leading to increased support for Van Hollen’s bill within the Democratic Party.

Lawmakers like Tammy Baldwin, who are aligned with the progressive camp inside the Democratic Party, are not the only ones to support Van Hollen’s amendment. Even Senators like Georgia’s Raphael Warnock, who endorsed early bipartisan measures expressing solidarity with Israel and advocated for the emergency resupply of weapons systems to Israel, are backing the amendment now.

“I am pleased to see growing momentum behind our effort to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are used by our partners in a manner that aligns with our values and our interests,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2024


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