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Bernie Sanders speaking to RTÉ's Prime Time Screengrab/RTÉ
Prime Time

Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden is 'very wrong' on the issue of Israel and Gaza

Sanders said the conflict in Gaza is “one of the great humanitarian disasters in modern history”.

US SENATOR BERNIE Sanders has said US President Joe Biden is “very wrong” on the issue of Israel and Gaza. 

On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, pushing ahead after months of difficult negotiations.

The package would include $14 billion for Israel’s offensive on Hamas. 

Progressive lawmakers have objected to sending offensive weaponry to Israel, and senator Bernie Sanders, an independent of Vermont, as well as two Democrats, senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Peter Welch of Vermont, voted against it.

When asked by RTÉ Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan about the situation in Gaza and being one of the senators who voted against the package, Sanders said has been “very upset” that Congress is prepared to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government billions to continue to offensive. 

He said the conflict is “one of the great humanitarian disasters in modern history” and isn’t ”reported adequately in the United States”.

“About 27,000 people [have] already been killed. Almost 70,000 who have been injured. You’re talking about 1.8 million, 80% of the people displaced,” Sanders said.

“Can you imagine, that’s half the size of Ireland, that half the people just yanked out of their homes, put on the road. They don’t have food, they don’t have water, they don’t have medical supplies, they don’t have fuel,” he said. 

“And now, what you’re looking at because of the restrictions on the border, food getting in, plus the bombardments, children by the hundreds of 1000s are starving to death,” Sanders added. 

“Who cannot be upset about this?”

Sanders said that Hamas is a “jihadist, disgusting, terrorist organisation” that started the conflict and that “Israel has a right to defend itself”. 

However, he added that “it does not have a right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people”. 

“So I have been very upset that the United States Congress is prepared to give Netanyahu and his right wing government another $10 billion in order to continue this war. That, to me, is beyond belief,” Sanders said. 

Sanders was also asked about his efforts to leverage his influence on the matter of Israel and Gaza with the Biden White House. 

He said: “Of course I have, and we’re going to continue to do that”. 

“Joe Biden is an old friend of mine. I’ve known him for many years. We’ve worked together on some, I think, very successful projects. Uh, but on this issue, he’s wrong. Very wrong,” Sanders said. 

The 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas militants which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

At least 28,663 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s assault on the Palestinian territory since 7 October, according to the health ministry.