Lawmakers debate future of Israel military aid


Lawmakers shared their thoughts on social media following reports that Democrats in the House and Senate are discussing how to create conditions for future military aid to Israel.

The discussions, first reported by Politico, are preliminary, and it’s unclear if they will evolve into congressional action. A House Democrat who was granted anonymity by the outlet said Democrats are “moving toward” pushing for conditions on future support for Israel’s military.

The member said they had never heard the idea being discussed until Israel ramped up its bombardment of airstrikes and launched a ground operation on the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. In the weeks since Hamas entered Israel in a deadly surprise attack that killed 1,200 people, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Authority reports that more than 11,100 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed from Israel’s counteroffensive.

The onset of the conflict has highlighted the established Democratic divisions over Middle East policy. Democrats posted online both supporting or opposing the idea of conditioning aid for Israel.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has been an outspoken advocate of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.

“We cannot abandon our obligation to free hostages, secure Israel’s democracy and eradicate Hamas,” Wasserman Schultz said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Conditioning aid to Israel is a gift to Iran and Hamas at the expense of innocent lives.”

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) said in a post that he disagrees with the Democrats who are suggesting the change in funding to Israel.

“I didn’t agree with conditioning aid to Israel when Republicans did it and I don’t agree if Democrats are trying to do it,” his post said.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) disagreed with the report. She said that the “majority of Democrats,” herself included, have pushed for aid for Israel “to move as soon as possible” without conditions.

“We will deliver on President Biden’s principles request as Israel defends herself from the terrorist threat that is Hamas,” Frankel’s post said.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he is “opposed to attempts to condition aid” to Israel, calling the discussions “an irresponsible move.”

Other members said conditioning aid would be a “slippery slope” and “outrageous.”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) posted online saying that he thinks the U.S. should be sending money to both Israel and Gaza.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said she supports conditioning aid to Israel, “as we do with virtually all other US allies.”

“The United States has a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that public resources do not facilitate gross violations of human rights and international law,” her post said.

According to the Politico report, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted a lunch this week for Democrats to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.

It’s not determined how – or if – the conditions on military aid for Israel would work, but the lawmakers that spoke with Politico said conversations are about using the Leahy Law, which prohibits sending funds to countries that violate human rights.

The discussions come as fighting in Gaza has intensified.

Earlier this month, the House passed a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel in a win for Republicans.

It was reported Saturday evening that a possible deal between Israel and Hamas has been reached, facilitated by the United States.

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