Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a ceasefire resolution in a bid to block a move by Florida Sen. Rick Scott to express support for Israel in its conflict with militants in Gaza.
The Vermont independent introduced his own proposal as an alternative to Scott’s “destructive resolution” on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
“The Senate urges an immediate cease-fire to prevent any further loss of life; and further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories; and supports diplomatic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; to uphold international law; and to protect the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians,” the resolution reads.
Sanders told lawmakers they’re “not alone” in calling for a de-escalation of tensions in the region.
“I would also like to point out that those of us who are supporting an immediate ceasefire are certainly not alone,” he said. “We join with nearly unanimous call[s] from the European Union, with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, with Pope Francis, and with many others.”
Scott’s resolution, which was introduced on Monday, stated that the “United States supports Israel, our greatest ally in the region, and its right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.” The Florida Republican railed against Hamas for “indiscriminate rocket attacks” and mourned the loss of life of Israelis who have been killed.
“For decades, the people of Israel have endured unyielding attacks from terrorist groups, like Hamas, who wish to destroy the Jewish state and its people,” he said in a statement. “Now, as thousands of rockets rain down, our resolve to stand with Israel must be stronger than ever. I want to be clear: no country, certainly not the United States, would tolerate attacks like these and not take whatever action is necessary to end them. As our great ally and the only shining example of democracy in the Middle East, Israel deserves our full support.”
As of Tuesday, 227 people have been killed in Gaza, including 64 children and 38 women, while more than 1,620 have been wounded thus far, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. A total of 12 have been slain in Israel.
On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces reported that more than 4,000 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of the conflict.
Hamas, which was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 1997, began firing rockets toward Israel last week amid a tense situation that boiled over with a looming Israeli Supreme Court decision on whether to uphold the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah area in east Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, President Joe Bidenpressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an immediate ceasefire as he told reporters he expected “significant de-escalation today.”