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Senate Democrats Urge Biden to Safeguard Civilians in Gaza

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Israel Ojoko
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Senate Democrats Urge Biden to Safeguard Civilians in Gaza

A cadre of U.S. Senate Democrats have implored President Biden to intensify efforts towards safeguarding civilians in Gaza.

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In a letter dispatched on Tuesday, they stated that the U.S. must ensure that its weapons transfers to Israel do not contravene international law. The correspondence further raised concerns about the opacity of these arms transfers.

Leading Senators Demand Accountability

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a leading figure in this initiative, and her supporters are gearing up for a Senate vote on Wednesday.

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This vote will decide on a package that incorporates an additional $14 billion in aid to Israel, as requested by the White House, and further assistance for Ukraine. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a signatory of the letter, has called for conditions to be appended to the aid given to Israel.

He has also expressed his intention to vote against the test vote on the package. Other signatories of the letter include senators Tim Kaine, Martin Heinrich, and Jeff Merkley.

Call for Oversight and Civilian Safety

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The Democratic senators have urged the Biden administration to introduce more stringent oversight on Israel's use of U.S.-provided weapons. Their goal is to prevent further civilian casualties.

They emphasized that Israel, as a U.S. partner, should be held accountable for its use of U.S. weapons. The senators further asked the administration to scrutinize reports of American weapons causing harm to civilians, with the aim of better protecting civilian safety during Israel's operations in Gaza.

Concerns Over Civilian Death Toll

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The senators also expressed alarm over Israeli forces employing 155 millimeter artillery shells near densely populated civilian areas. These unguided explosive weapons have a kill radius of between 100 and 300 meters.

The senators expressed grave concerns over the staggering number of civilian deaths caused by Israeli bombings using U.S. supplied ordnance. A total of over 60,000 Gazans have reportedly been killed, maimed, or are missing due to Israeli bombs and bullets, many of which are manufactured in the United States.

In the wake of these developments, Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, along with Pennsylvania Representative Chrissy Houlahan and Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton, have also appealed to President Biden. They have urged him to guide Israel's current military operations in Gaza towards a strategic approach aimed at a political resolution.

Meanwhile, a bill to approve tens of billions of dollars in emergency spending, including aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other priorities, met an expected hurdle on Wednesday. A key test vote in the Senate failed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York pressed ahead with the procedural vote to advance the bill, despite Republicans stating they would not support it without stricter U.S.-Mexico border security measures.

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