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Senate Democrat accuses Israel of ‘textbook war crime’ in Gaza

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) accused Israel of a “textbook war crime” in remarks on the Senate floor Monday.

Van Hollen spoke about a recent analysis from the World Food Program and the United Nations Children’s Fund detailing a lack of access to food in Gaza amid Israel’s retaliatory siege against Hamas on the territory.

“Kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” Van Hollen said in the remarks, highlighted by Mediaite. “In addition to the horror of that news, one other thing is true. That is a war crime. It is a textbook war crime. And that makes those who orchestrate it war criminals.”

Van Hollen has been critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza throughout its war with Hamas. He has also been critical of President Biden’s handling of the war, once saying that the president should “speak out more clearly” about civilian casualties in Gaza.

“I don’t know if it’s hurting the president with fellow Democrats. I do think it’s important that the president speak out more clearly on this issue,” Van Hollen said in November.

The president should “take action in response” to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Van Hollen said in his Monday remarks. He also said Biden “must demand” that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “immediately allow more food and water and other life-saving supplies into Gaza.”

“And make sure it reaches the children and other people who are starving,” Van Hollen continued.

Van Hollen is also the lead sponsor of a proposed amendment that would tie aid to Israel with humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza.

“American taxpayer dollars should be used in line with our values and our interests,” Van Hollen said.

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