Democrats Issue Warning to Joe Biden

A handful of Democrats in the House of Representatives have signed a letter calling on President Joe Biden to revoke Israel’s access to United States security assistance amid a mounting “humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Israeli military forces have been engaged in an intense conflict in the Gaza region with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in response for the latter’s brutal October 7, 2023, attack that killed 1,200 Israelis, with taking over 200 people hostage. The ensuing conflict has seen Israeli forces inflict considerable losses in life and infrastructure on civilians in Gaza, with the Associated Press reporting casualties of over 30,000.

As a longtime ally of the U.S. in the Middle East, the U.S. government and President Joe Biden have remained committed to aiding Israel in the face of mounting international scrutiny, though reports have indicated the president is growing increasingly frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict. Accusations have emerged over the last several months that Israeli forces have blocked the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians.

On Saturday, six leading House Democrats signed off on a letter urging Biden to “enforce Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act and restrict additional U.S. security assistance to Israel” amid these efforts to block aid to Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will soon certify whether or not Israel has “made credible and reliable written commitments to use U.S. weapons according to United States and international law,” prompting the letter’s release.

biden letter on gaza
President Joe Biden gives an address on March 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Six House Democrats signed off on a letter calling for action against Israel over its blockage of aid to Gaza.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Given the catastrophic and devolving humanitarian situation in Gaza, we urge you to enforce the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act…and, as required by that law, make clear to the Israeli government that so long as Israel continues to restrict the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, the continued provision of U.S. security assistance to Israel would constitute a violation of existing U.S. law and must be restricted,” the letter read.

Among those who signed off on the letter were Representatives Joaquin Castro of Texas, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Sara Jacobs of California, Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Chellie Pingree of Maine.

The letter also noted: “The United States is a leading funder of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Despite your administration’s efforts to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in need, the Israeli government has repeatedly obstructed the delivery of U.S.-funded and supported humanitarian aid.

“Israeli authorities have refused to open sufficient overland border crossings to humanitarian aid–forcing the United States to rely on less-efficient airlifts and maritime delivery; imposed arbitrary restrictions on vital humanitarian goods; and blocked the delivery of flour and other foodstuffs to feed the people of Gaza. Nearly half of the population of Gaza is under 18, and children are bearing the brunt of Gaza’s suffering.”

Newsweek reached out to the White House and the Israeli Defense Force via email on Saturday for comment.