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Accused of 'Genocide' in Gaza: US debates sending $14bn in additional aid to Israel

November 3, 2023 at 1:06 pm

A demonstrator displays a placard with the lettering reading ‘Stop the Genocide’ during a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in Warsaw, Poland on October 29, 2023. [WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

As Israel stands accused of carrying out a genocide in Gaza, the US House of Representatives has approved legislation to provide $14 billion in new aid to the occupation state. However, the bill faces resistance in the Senate and opposition from the White House over its failure to fund other foreign policy priorities like Ukraine.

The Republican-led lower chamber passed the Israel aid package with 226 votes in favour and 196 against, amid growing accusations that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide. UN officials and genocide experts have described the situation as “a textbook case of genocide.” The US too has come under criticism for providing funding and diplomatic cover for the massacre of more than 9,000 Palestinians, almost half of whom are children.

While President Joe Biden himself supports aid for Israel, the White House and Democrats have opposed the Republican legislation because it represents only a small chunk of the $106 billion funding package that the US president demanded last month. That package is also said to include assistance for Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, humanitarian aid and US border security.

Democrats criticised the “irresponsible, partisan bill” for abandoning Ukraine and innocent Palestinian civilians. The White House said Biden would likely veto what has been called the “Israel only” bill, with officials calling the move mere political gamesmanship during global crises requiring unity.

Read: 800 scholars warn of potential genocide in Gaza

Yet Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson claimed the need to support Israel united his party, even convincing fiscal conservatives who typically oppose foreign aid.

With the threat of a government shutdown looming, legislators hope to reach a budget compromise by mid-November. But Biden insists Congress act quickly on the full package rather than cherry-pick pet projects like aid to Israel amid accusations of genocide in Gaza.

UN human rights official resigned in protest this week over what he calls the “genocide” unfolding in the besieged enclave. Craig Mokhiber, outgoing director of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, accused the UN of “failing again” to prevent genocide like it had in Rwanda and Bosnia.

In a fiery departure letter, Mokhiber categorised Israel’s “wholesale slaughter” of Palestinians as a “textbook case of genocide” rooted in ethno-nationalist ideology. He condemned the US, UK and Europe as “wholly complicit” for arming Israel’s assault and providing it diplomatic cover. Mokhiber called for dismantling Israel’s “deeply racist, settler-colonial project” and establishing a single secular state in historic Palestine.

The top UN human rights official is not alone in calling on the international community to shake off its apathy and prevent an Israeli genocide on Gaza. Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University and the Endowed Professor in the Study of Modern Genocide, Raz Segal, has also called Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza “a textbook case of genocide”.