The Rafah Disaster

For five days, almost no humanitarian aid has gotten into Gaza. Israel’s military operation in Rafah has displaced another 110,000 people and closed both main border crossings. That means no food, no water, no medicine, no fuel. And now Israel is threatening to expand that operation.

Hundreds of thousands of children were starving and famine was imminent even before this military operation crippled the humanitarian aid operation. Israel’s Rafah invasion is already having a dramatic effect and making a catastrophic situation even worse.

Bakeries are shutting down. Food can’t be distributed. Soon, hospitals will go dark as they run out of fuel. Incubators, ventilators, and critical machinery will stop working. Thousands more women, children, and innocent people will die.

The United Nations Secretary General said today that an “attack in Rafah would lead to an epic humanitarian disaster.” There is simply no way for humanitarian organizations to effectively deliver lifesaving aid in the midst of active fighting around Rafah.

That is why President Biden was right to withhold 2,000-pound bombs for Israel – bombs that could only cause massive civilian death in densely-populated Rafah.

Over the years the U.S. has provided tens of billions in military aid to Israel. We must make it very clear: an invasion of Rafah means an end to all U.S. military aid to Netanyahu’s right-wing, extremist government. Period. End of discussion.

We cannot continue to be complicit in this humanitarian disaster.

Bernie Sanders is a US Senator, and the ranking member of the Senate budget committee. He represents the state of Vermont, and is the longest-serving independent in the history of Congress.