update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Deny offensive weapons to Israel, says Texas Dem who called for Oct. 17 ceasefire

"It is against U.S. law to transfer weapons to a country that does not take reliable measures to protect civilian populations during military operations," said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas).

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) speaks in favor of passage of immigration reform at a Capitol Hill news conference on Oct. 20, 2021. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) speaks in favor of passage of immigration reform at a Capitol Hill news conference on Oct. 20, 2021. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) cited her decision to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip just 10 days after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel in a statement calling on the United States to immediately deny “offensive weapons” to Israel.

“Tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including journalists, doctors, aid workers, children, men, women, the elderly and the disabled have been killed over five devastating months of war in Gaza,” stated Escobar, a deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus whose district includes El Paso.

“Aid workers trying to prevent catastrophic famine and physicians attempting to treat the injured, many of whom served in other war zones, have shared horrific accounts of the reckless disregard for their safety by the Israeli Defense Forces,” Escobar stated. “The Israeli targeted air strikes that killed WCK aid workers is yet another example.”

Israel is investigating an airstrike that killed seven aid workers associated with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen.

“Although the U.S. staunchly supports Israel’s right to defend itself, the Israeli government’s unwillingness to allow sufficient aid into Gaza coupled with irrefutable reports of killing of innocent Palestinians and aid workers demands action,” the congresswoman added. “I called for a ceasefire on Oct. 17, and today I call on the United States to hold Netanyahu and his coalition government accountable.”

Escobar said that she defends “defensive weapons for Israel” but “it is clear that Israel has not complied and until that occurs, we must withhold all offensive weapons to Israel immediately.”

On July 25, Escobar wrote that she was “deeply disappointed by the Netanyahu government’s undermining of the Israeli Supreme Court’s authority,” which she called “an overreach by the ruling coalition and a threat to Israel’s commitment to democracy.”

A month later, the Texas Democrat wrote that she voted “yes” on a “resolution to celebrate Israel’s anniversary and to strengthen the Abraham Accords. But doing so without the inclusion of Palestinians and a two-state solution—as we should have and previously have done—is disappointing.”

On Oct. 7, Escobar noted the impact of Hamas’s attack on Israel that day on both Israelis and Palestinians.

“I am horrified by the terrorist attack against Israel and condemn Hamas’s violence in the strongest possible terms,” she wrote. “My thoughts are with the victims whose lives were tragically and unnecessarily cut short today, their families, and the Israeli and Palestinian civilians impacted.”

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