NEWS: Sanders, Van Hollen, Merkley, and Five Colleagues Urge President Biden to Enforce U.S. Law with Netanyahu

Under Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, Netanyahu must expand humanitarian aid access and deliveries to Gaza or forfeit U.S. military assistance

WASHINGTON, March 12 – Amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and five Democratic colleagues in the Senate on Monday sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to enforce federal law by requiring Netanyahu’s government to stop restricting humanitarian aid access to Gaza or forfeit U.S. military aid to Israel.

In the letter, the senators made clear that Netanyahu’s interference in U.S. humanitarian operations in Gaza violates Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, also known as the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act. The law states: “No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter or the Arms Export Control Act to any country when it is made known to the President that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.”

To President Biden, the senators wrote: “According to public reporting and your own statements, the Netanyahu government is in violation of this law. Given this reality, we urge you to make it clear to the Netanyahu government that failure to immediately and dramatically expand humanitarian access and facilitate safe aid deliveries throughout Gaza will lead to serious consequences, as specified under existing U.S. law.”

“The United States should not provide military assistance to any country that interferes with U.S. humanitarian assistance,” the senators continued. “Federal law is clear, and, given the urgency of the crisis in Gaza, and the repeated refusal of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address U.S. concerns on this issue, immediate action is necessary to secure a change in policy by his government.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

To read the full letter, click here.