Sanders pushes for Gaza aid in exchange for yes on Iron Dome
WASHINGTON: Left-wing US Senator Bernie Sanders is expected to back an additional $1 billion worth of funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile system in an upcoming Senate vote in exchange for more aid to Gaza.
The quarterly Jewish Currents magazine - which obtained a copy of a letter from Sanders to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer - said that although he was critical of Israel's Iron Dome request the Vermont Senator is planning on voting "yes" in a bid to push for increased humanitarian relief for Palestinians in Gaza.
Sanders appears to see this exchange as a strategic counterbalance to the massive US military funding Israel already receives.
In addition, there is no indication that a "no" vote from Sanders would affect the final outcome of the Senate vote.
Last month's vote in the House of Representatives went 420-9 in favour of the extra $1 billion for the Iron Dome system.
"In reality, the funding for the Iron Dome was going to pass because it is viewed as a system of self-defence rather than a system for orchestrating attacks," Anwar Mhajne, assistant professor of political science at Stonehill College told The New Arab.
Mhajne said that while she did not necessarily agree with Sanders' potential move, she saw the reasoning behind it.
"Using the 'yes' vote to bargain won't stop the blockade [of Gaza] or Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories. It won't push Israel to consider the proper solution for its security issues, achieving a just peace agreement with the Palestinians. However, the bargain achieves a minuscule gain in the form of financial relief for civilians in Gaza," Mhajne said.
Israel’s assault on Gaza in May left more than 250 Palestinians dead and nearly 2,000 wounded, while more than 75,000 were displaced from their homes.