Democrat representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last week presented an amendment to the US defence budget bill. If agreed, the amendment will block the transfer of $735 million worth of Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) to Israel.
The Biden administration approved the controversial sale less than a week before Israel launched its recent bombing campaign against Gaza, which killed more than 250 people including women and children. The amendment related to Israel was, tweeted Ocasio-Cortez, linked to the “bombing of Palestinian civilians and media centres” in May. This was a reference to the bombing of a building in Gaza City that housed the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera as well as residential units.
The proposal was introduced alongside six other amendments, including one to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, blamed for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, and another concerning the US relationship with Colombia.
Jamal Khashoggi lived in my district. Saudi Arabia ordered the murder and dismemberment of my constituent.
I will not let this go.
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) September 17, 2021
Along with other progressive representatives, including Rashida Tlaib and Marc Pocan, Ocasio-Cortez introduced a similar resolution opposing the sale of arms to Israel earlier this year.
“For decades, the US has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring it to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement, and disenfranchisement of millions,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez at the time. “At a time when so many, including our President, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to [the then Israel] Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence.”
The member of the House of Representatives insisted that it is long past time to end the US policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights.
Despite claims by the Biden administration that it is committed to working behind the scenes to de-escalate violence against Palestine, the US has blocked several attempts by the UN Security Council to call for a ceasefire.