Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday he opposes calls for a permanent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas because Israel “has the right to defend itself” and because he doesn’t believe it would be viable. (Watch the video below.)
Sanders’ rejection of a long-term truce puts him at odds with many other progressives. But he noted his endorsement of a humanitarian pause proposed last week by the United Nations that was blocked by the United States.
“I strongly support and wish and hope that the United States will support the United Nations resolution that was vetoed, that we vetoed the other day,” Sanders said. “That was a humanitarian pause, humanitarian cease-fire, that would have by the way called for the release of all of the hostages held by Hamas, and would have allowed the U.N. and other agencies to begin to supply the enormous amount of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.”
However, he added, “in terms of a permanent cease-fire, I don’t know how you can have a permanent cease-fire when Hamas, who has said before October 7th and after October 7th that they want to destroy Israel ― they want a permanent war. I don’t know how you have a permanent cease-fire with an attitude like that.”
Asked by Brennan if the offensive against Hamas “is justified in that way,” Sanders replied: “I think Israel has the right to defend itself and to go after Hamas, not the Palestinian people.”
Sanders, meanwhile, is among the lawmakers who oppose unconditional aid for Israel. Last week he declared his opposition to President Joe Biden’s multibillion-dollar request for military funding.
The conflict has entered its third month, claiming the lives of nearly 18,000 Palestinians. Israel’s ground attack in Gaza has left about 100 of its soldiers dead after Hamas killed about 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped hundreds in the Oct. 7 attack that ignited the war.