Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he doesn’t know that a ceasefire is possible in the Israel-Hamas war with “an organization like Hamas” involved.
“I don’t know how you can have a ceasefire, (a) permanent ceasefire, with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the state of Israel,” Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” Sunday.
As Israel continues its fourth week of intense bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip, huge crowds of protesters have gathered to call for a ceasefire in Washington, D.C. as well as in other capital cities around the globe.
The nonstop Israeli attacks have killed almost 10,000 people in Gaza, many of them civilians and a large portion of them children. Israeli airstrikes have targeted hospitals, schools, refugee camps and ambulances, sparking outrage from the international community and warnings from rights groups that the strikes may constitute war crimes.
Israeli authorities, however, have rebuffed calls for a ceasefire, saying it would not be possible until all hostages are freed. Israel maintains it does not target civilians and its attacks on the strip are intended to eradicate Hamas, the militant Islamist organization that governs Gaza and is considered a terrorist group by the US and EU among other countries.
While the Biden administration has consistently advocated for humanitarian pauses to facilitate getting fuel into the war-torn strip and getting civilians out, Secretary of State Antony Blinken remains opposed to a ceasefire, arguing that it would give Hamas time to regroup and launch another attack on Israel.
“The immediate task right now is to end the bombing,” Sanders said Sunday, “to end the horrific humanitarian disaster, to build – go forward with the entire world for a two-tier, two-state solution to the crisis to give the Palestinian people hope.”
‘Rashida is a friend’
Asked by Bash about Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s accusation that President Joe Biden is supporting a Palestinian “genocide,” Sanders responded “Rashida is a friend of mine.”
“Her family comes from Palestine. I think she has been shaken, as all of us are, about what goes on – is going on right now. And we have to address that humanitarian crisis,” he said.
“But if anyone thinks that Trump is going to be better than Biden on this issue or any other issue, for that matter, I think they are sorely mistaken.”
Tlaib, a longtime advocate for Palestinian rights, has been the most outspoken critic of Israel in Congress since her election in 2018. In recent weeks, she has roiled some of her colleagues determined to present a united front amid the Israel-Hamas war as divisions have grown more personal.
In a video posted to X, Tlaib urged Biden to call for a ceasefire in the conflict, stating “the American people are not with you on this one.”
The video – which features images of protests with chants of “Free Palestine” and ‘From the river to the sea” across Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and New York – ends with text that states: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people,” “The American people won’t forget,” “Biden, support the ceasefire now,” and “Or don’t count on us in 2024.”
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