October 11, 2023
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday issued the following statement on the continuing violence in Israel and Gaza following Hamas’ horrific attack on Saturday:
Hamas’ terrorist assault on Israel will have horrific short- and long-term consequences.
As a result of this attack, thousands of Israelis and Palestinians – including many women and children – have been killed and injured. That toll will rise. The gunning down of young Israelis at a music festival is an image the world will not soon forget.
Longer term, this attack is a major setback for any hope of peace and reconciliation in the region – and justice for the Palestinian people. For years, people of good will throughout the world, including some brave Israelis, have struggled against the blockade of Gaza, the daily humiliations of occupation in the West Bank, and the horrendous living conditions faced by so many Palestinians. For many, it is no secret that Gaza has been an open-air prison, with millions of people struggling to secure basic necessities. Hamas’ terrorism will make it much more difficult to address that tragic reality and will embolden extremists on both sides, continuing the cycle of violence.
Right now, the international community must focus on reducing humanitarian suffering and protecting innocent people on both sides of this conflict. The targeting of civilians is a war crime, no matter who does it. Israel’s blanket denial of food, water, and other necessities to Gaza is a serious violation of international law and will do nothing but harm innocent civilians. The United States has rightly offered solidarity and support to Israel in responding to Hamas’ attack. But we must also insist on restraint from Israeli forces attacking Gaza and work to secure UN humanitarian access. Let us not forget that half of the two million people in Gaza are children. Children and innocent people do not deserve to be punished for the acts of Hamas.