Van Hollen: US ‘should not be sending more bombs’ to Israel until government allows more humanitarian assistance

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said the United States needs to employ its “leverage” to ensure humanitarian aid reaches Gaza.

Appearing on ABC News’s “This Week,” Van Hollen, a Maryland lawmaker and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he “continues to rebuff the president of the United States time and time again.”

“We have different parts of leverage and one of them is sending more offensive weapons. So, President Biden needs to be as serious about ensuring more humanitarian assistance gets into Gaza as Netanyahu has been in making his demands,” Van Hollen told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

“So, my view, Martha, is until the Netanyahu government allows more assistance into Gaza, to help people who are literally starving to death, we should not be sending more bombs,” he said.

Van Hollen described the United States’s partnership with Israel as “a one-way blank check with American taxpayer dollars.”

“This is not about saying we’re not going to provide any more weapons. It’s about saying, ‘Hey, we have requests. Don’t let people starve to death,’” he said.

Raddatz pressed Van Hollen on whether he would label Israel’s actions as war crimes.

“There’s no doubt that blocking aid into Gaza is a violation of international humanitarian law. With respect to certain individuals in the Netanyahu government, people like Finance Minister Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, who have not only said they want to block aid into Gaza but have taken steps to block aid into Gaza, that is a war crime,” he said.

Van Hollen did not explicitly call Netanyahu a war criminal but acknowledged that such a determination regarding the Israeli government’s actions would need to be made in the future.

“Ultimately, that will have to be decided down the road. But in the meantime, let’s just get more assistance to starving people in Gaza,” he said.

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