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Rep. Becca Balint Among Growing Group of Democrats Calling to Withhold Offensive Weapons Transfers to Israel

“In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers.”

Rep. Becca Balint signed a letter to President Biden and Secretary Blinken, alongside 55 Democrats led by Representatives Pocan, McGovern and Schakowsky urging the Biden Administration to withhold pending and future weapons assistance to Israel. This comes following the seven humanitarian aid workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, killed in an Israeli airstrike. Representatives also expressed grave concern about Israel’s consistent blocking of humanitarian aid as Gaza descends into famine.

“We write to express our shared concern and outrage regarding the recent Israeli airstrike which killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including an American citizen,” the Members wrote. “In light of this incident, we strongly urge you to reconsider your recent decision to authorize the transfer of a new arms package to Israel and to withhold this and any future offensive arms transfers until a full investigation into the airstrike is completed. If this strike is found to have violated U.S. or international law, we urge you to continue withholding these transfers until those responsible are held accountable. We also urge you to withhold these transfers if Israel fails to sufficiently mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza, including aid workers, and if it fails to facilitate – or arbitrarily denies or restricts – the transport and delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

“It is estimated that over 32,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of this war, nearly half of whom are children,” the Members continued.“While we appreciate your administration’s recent efforts to increase the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, these efforts will not be sufficient to meet the extraordinary need on the ground. The Israeli government’s restrictions on the flow of aid into Gaza, coupled with the death and grave harm that aid workers have faced during this war, are compounding this hunger crisis. Recent reports indicate that hundreds of aid trucks sit idle outside the Rafah border crossing due to Israel’s restrictions. And now over 200 aid workers have been killed since the start of the war. These attacks and deaths are having a chilling effect with the World Central Kitchen and other humanitarian groups now suspending their operations in Gaza. Until now, World Central Kitchen has provided more than 43 million meals to Palestinians in Gaza, lending support to 68 community kitchens throughout the territory and serving more than 170,000 hot meals each day. Its services are irreplaceable, and its absence will fuel the growing hunger crisis in Gaza.”

“In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers,” the Members concluded. “We again strongly urge you to withhold any offensive weapons transfers until the investigation into the airstrike is concluded and, if it is found this strike violated U.S. or international law, those responsible are held accountable. And we again urge you to ensure that any future military assistance to Israel, including already authorized transfers, is subject to conditions to ensure it is used in compliance with U.S. and international law.”

See the text of the letter here