‘A War Criminal’ – Sanders Slams US Congress Invitation to Netanyahu

US Senator Bernie Sanders. (Photo: AFGE, Via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend.”

US Senator Bernie Sanders has said it is a sad day for the country that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited to address a joint session of Congress, calling him a “war criminal.”

“It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited – by leaders from both parties – to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress,” Sanders said in a statement on Saturday.

“Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend,” Sanders stressed.

His remarks came a day after the leaders of the US Senate and House of Representatives on Friday officially invited the Israeli leader to address a joint session of the bicameral Congress.

The letter inviting Netanyahu was signed by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, according to the Anadolu news agency.

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‘No Right to Annihilate Gaza’

Sanders said that although Israel “had the right to defend itself against” the Hamas resistance operation of October 7, “it did not, and does not, have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian population.”

“Israel does not have the right to kill more than 34,000 civilians and wound over 80,000 – 5% of the population of Gaza. It does not have the right to orphan 19,000 children. It does not have the right to displace 75% of the people of Gaza from their homes,” he stated.

He lamented Israel’s destruction of “over 60% of the housing in Gaza,” as well as the civilian infrastructure, water and sewage systems, as well as the denial of electricity to the population.

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“It does not have the right to annihilate Gaza’s health care system, knocking 26 hospitals out of service and killing more than 400 health care workers. It does not have the right to bomb all 12 of Gaza’s universities and 56 of its schools, or deny 625,000 children in Gaza the opportunity for an education.”

He continued: “It most certainly does not have the right to block humanitarian aid – food and medical supplies – from coming to the desperate people of Gaza, creating the conditions for starvation and famine.”

Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Senate Democrats, emphasized that Israel “does not have the right to condemn hundreds of thousands of children to death by starvation. This is a clear violation of American and international law.”

‘Show of Wartime Support’

The International Criminal Court’s recent announcement that it is seeking arrest warrants for both Netanyahu and Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas.

“The ICC is right. Both of these people are engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law,” he added.

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu has accepted the invitation to address a joint session of Congress.

He said that he was “excited for the privilege to present in front of the representatives of the American people and the entire world the truth about our just war against those who wish to kill us,” the Times of Israel reported.

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the report added, “boasted that he would be the first world leader to address a joint session of Congress for a fourth time.”

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It said Netanyahu is “currently tied at three with Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill.”

The paper described the invitation as “a show of wartime support for longtime ally Israel despite mounting political divisions over the war against Hamas in Gaza.”

Netanyahu’s office reiterated on Friday his intention to continue Israel’s offensive in Gaza until all of Tel Aviv’s war goals are achieved.

Additionally, Israeli far-right ministers threatened on Saturday to dissolve the government if Netanyahu agreed to the latest ceasefire proposal.

Mounting Death Toll

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 36,439 Palestinians have been killed, and 82,627 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in the enclave.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(PC, Anadolu)

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