- “I want this to sink in. Children in Gaza are dying now from the deliberate withholding of food… That is a war crime.”
- Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, the Maryland senator said aid should be conditioned on compliance with international law.
- The White House has said there is no indication that the Israel Defense Forces made “deliberate” efforts to commit war crimes.
Democratic Senator Chris van Hollen lashed out at Israel for a “textbook war crime” on Monday afternoon after a visit to the region, but still voted to fund its war against Hamas.
The Maryland senator said any US aid should be conditional on compliance with international law. He referenced an analysis by the World Food Program and the United Nations Children’s Fund detailing the famine in Gaza due to Israel’s siege of Hamas in the territory.
“I want that to sink in. Children in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” he said on the Senate floor Monday during deliberations on a $95 billion foreign aid bill.
‘In addition to the horror of that news, something else is true. That is a war crime. It’s a textbook war crime. And that turns those who orchestrate it into war criminals.”
The White House, which backed the aid package, has said there is no indication that the Israel Defense Forces made “deliberate” efforts to commit war crimes.
And hours later, Van Hollen dismissed their concerns and proceeded to vote in favor of the $95 billion package that offers $61 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.
It also provides $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones around the world.
Democratic Senator Chris van Hollen criticized Israel for a “textbook war crime” on Monday night after a visit to the region, but still voted to fund its war against Hamas.
The deal passed 70-29, but Speaker Mike Johnson has insisted it will not come to a House vote without border security provisions.
Van Hollen said he had spoken with Cindy McCain, director of the World Food Program and wife of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., about the report.
‘I sent him a note, a text message asking him about reports that some children have crossed the terrible threshold of being on the brink of starvation or dying of starvation. She responded and I quote, ‘This is true.’ We can’t get enough food to keep people on the brink. Famine is imminent. I wish I had better news. End of quote.’
Last week, Conservatives rejected a similar deal with attached immigration provisions that they said do not go far enough to secure the southern border.
Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, the Maryland senator said aid should be conditioned on compliance with international law.
Palestinians inspect the rubble of the Hasouna family’s home, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike during an operation to rescue two hostages in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, February 13, 2024.
Houses destroyed during an Israeli military operation in the Al Bureije refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, February 13, 2024
Van Hollen said Biden “must demand” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “immediately allow more food, water and other life-saving supplies into Gaza.”
He has also urged President Biden to “speak more clearly” about the accumulation of civilian casualties in Gaza.
‘I don’t know if it’s hurting the president and his fellow Democrats. “I think it’s important for the president to speak more clearly on this issue,” Van Hollen said in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in November.