AOC leads eleventh-hour effort to block US $735M arms sale to Israel

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A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution Wednesday to halt the Biden-approved sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel.

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) joined in introducing the resolution.

It was co-sponsored by fellow “Squad” Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), as well as Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.).

Congress was notified on May 5 that the Biden administration had approved the arms sale and that lawmakers would be given a deadline of May 20 to file a resolution objecting.

President Biden on Wednesday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to demand a “significant de-escalation” in Israel’s conflict with Hamas. But Netanyahu said he won’t comply.

“At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence,” the New York Democrat said in a statement announcing the resolution.

“Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world — the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians,” Tlaib argued in a statement released at the same time.

“You cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime, it’s that simple.”

Israel has come under attack by a barrage of rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip over the last week, sending residents fleeing for shelter as air raid sirens blare across Israel’s cities.

The Iron Dome defense system has been intercepting many of the rockets, with the streaks of multiple interceptor missiles lighting up the sky over Israel.

Tlaib has been steadfast in her commitment to getting the arms sale canceled, confronting Biden on Tuesday about the matter when he touched down in her home state of Michigan to tour an electric car factory.

The Democratic lawmaker, who represents the Detroit area where Biden was visiting, began lobbying the commander-in-chief the moment he stepped onto the tarmac.

The two, along with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), engaged in what looked like a tense, eight-minute conversation.

Biden went on to praise Tlaib while speaking at the auto event, saying, “I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion and I admire your concern for so many other people.”

“It is from my heart that I pray that your grandmom and family are well and I promise you I’m going to do everything to see that they are on the West Bank,” he added. “You are a fighter and God thank you for being a fighter.”

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