Merkley: Netanyahu’s War Campaign at Odds with American Values

Washington, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement regarding his position on the U.S. Senate’s national security supplemental funding bill:

“This bill has multiple important elements I strongly support, including providing critical aid to Ukraine in the face of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion. Ukraine is a democratic republic defending itself against an invading authoritarian dictatorship. We must continue to partner with Europe and other allies to stand with the Ukrainian people and sustain the supply of ammunition and weapons Ukraine needs in defense of its democracy. Had the Senate had the opportunity to consider support for Ukraine as a separate bill, as the House did, I would have voted in favor.

“I also support other elements of the bill, including the FEND Off Fentanyl Act to help tackle the flow of fentanyl into our communities, international humanitarian aid, and assistance to strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific.

“I supported Israel going after Hamas following the horrific attack on October 7th and passionately support every effort America and other nations are making to free all hostages. In addition, I support the aid to Israel for defensive weapons including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Iron Beam.

“The section of this bill I cannot support, however, is the funding and delivery of more offensive military weaponry to Israel at a time when Israel is using American weapons in what President Biden has called an ‘indiscriminate’ campaign of bombing. That campaign has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, including more than 24,000 women and children. It has also pushed Gaza to the brink of famine with 1.1 million Palestinians facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity. Hamas is Israel’s enemy. Palestinian civilians are not the enemy.

“President Biden has repeatedly and urgently called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to adopt a much more targeted campaign against Hamas and to dramatically expand the supply of food, water, medicine, and shelter needed to address the cascading humanitarian disaster generated by Israel’s campaign. Indeed, American law requires recipients of American assistance to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Netanyahu, however, has made only minor adjustments in response.

“In addition, President Biden has asked Israel not to unleash a ground invasion of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, which has swollen from a pre-war population of 275,000 to more than one million people as it accommodates an enormous flow of refugees from areas bombed to the north. But the Israeli military continues to conduct airstrikes and raids on Rafah, and Netanyahu continues to publicly insist that Israel will launch a military offensive on the city, which will magnify civilian casualties among a population that has nowhere left to go.

“The campaign conducted by the Netanyahu government is at odds with our American values and American law. Thus, I will vote against the supplemental funding bill.”