Annette Pfannebecker: Congress must find solutions to stop death toll in Gaza 

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 26.

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 26. AP/MOHAMMED DAHMAN

FILE - Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2023. Sanders and a robust group of Democratic senators say they're done “asking nicely

FILE - Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2023. Sanders and a robust group of Democratic senators say they're done “asking nicely" for Israel to do more to reduce civilian casualties in its war against Hamas in Gaza. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) AP—AP

Published: 02-03-2024 10:55 AM

Ten U.S. senators joined Sen. Bernie Sanders to pass Resolution 502B© under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This resolution simply asks the State Department for a report on human rights records of any country receiving U.S. military assistance. This information can help Congress decide if there are human rights violations and if so, Congress can consequently make any changes to military aid and assistance. Only 11 senators chose to vote just to make a request for this information.

The job of Congress is oversight. And now everything has become political. The Israel-Palestinian conflict causes divisions with strong feelings on each side. No matter how you feel about it, think about 24,000 people killed and numbers climbing. Not to mention unknown numbers of people trapped under bombed buildings.

In western Massachusetts, that would be approximately the populations of Greenfield, Deerfield and Leverett. Think about it. For this conflict to continue in Gaza is not the answer or a solution, and the implications for the world are staggering.

What hope is there? We need to be able to come together, not to shout at each other but to find solutions. There are avenues beyond defending our reactions to explore.

I want to thank these senators for beginning a conversation and educating us about the responsibilities of Congress: Sens. Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Martin Heinrich and Ben RayLujan of New Mexico, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Laphonza Butler of California, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Annette Pfannebecker

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