Dem Sen. Welch: We Shouldn’t Include Bombs in Israel Aid

On Friday’s broadcast of CNN International’s “State of the Race,” Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) argued that U.S. aid to Israel shouldn’t include bombs.

Host Kasie Hunt asked, “You are one of a few Democrats who have called for a ceasefire in the region. Why haven’t more Democrats joined that call with you?”

Welch responded, “It’s a really troubling situation, because what Hamas did is unspeakable, and I’m among many of the Senators who saw the film that the Israeli Defense Force put together that had videos of the horror, and it was sickening and repulsive. So, all of us are supportive of Israel striking back, but the way in which Israel has struck back is with massive bombing, and it’s had catastrophic consequences on innocent Palestinians. So, the concern I’ve had is that this war against Hamas, which we’re all against Hamas, has turned into a catastrophe for Palestinians, 16,000 people, women and children, have been killed. And now there’s no ability to really maintain or establish humanitarian aid for the 1.5 million people who’ve been displaced, because if you have active bombing, that means that more than 100 who have already been killed providing aid, even more will be killed. And we’re also seeing that the U.N. is saying that we’re going to have more loss of life from disease because of the lack of sanitation.”

He continued, “So, there’s an enormous impact on innocent lives, and that’s the tension, the right to self-defense versus the manner in which that self-defense is carried out. And the manner in which it’s carried out, I think it’s going to set us back, because it’s going to create a lot of bitterness towards Israel and towards — really towards the U.S. as well, because of all the loss of innocent lives, a very, very tough situation.”

Later, Hunt asked, “Do you want any aid to Israel that Congress passes here in the next few months to include conditions on how it’s used?”

Welch answered, “I’m all for the Iron Dome. It’s saved many, many Israeli lives. I’m all for humanitarian aid, the more that we can help minimize the loss of life in Gaza, the better for Israel and for all of us. I’m against the bombs, the 2,000-pound bombs that the Netanyahu government was dropping on refugee camps where there was massive loss of civilian life. I don’t really think those should be part of our aid.”

Hunt then asked, “So, are you urging the administration, are you telling your colleagues and the administration not to allow American dollars to be used for those bombs?”

Welch responded, “Yeah, I don’t want to spend money on those bombs. That is causing — when you have massive…numbers of civilians in a very small area and you’re dropping bombs on it, there’s going to be significant loss of civilian life, so I don’t think that has a place, especially these 2000-pound bombs. And it’s true that Hamas is using Palestinians as human shields. So, it’s a very difficult situation militarily for the IDF, but on the other hand, civilian lives have to be protected.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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