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Warren says she would move to block sale of F-15s to Israel

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Thursday she would move to block the sale of F-15s to Israel after seven aid workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza earlier this week.

“I think it is clear that Congress has a responsibility to act. We have legal tools here. And as I said, we cannot approve the sale of arms to a country that is in violation of our own laws on this. And that includes access to humanitarian relief,” Warren said Thursday during an interview on “CNN News Central.”

“This is a moral question; it is also a legal question. Congress has responsibility here, and I’m willing to take that responsibility,” she added.

Seven aid workers with the World Central Kitchen were killed Monday while leaving a warehouse in central Gaza, where they delivered more than 100 tons of food aid. They were in two armored cars when the strike hit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took responsibility Tuesday for the deadly strike and said it was a “tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip.”

The strike came as the U.S. weighs a major new arms sale to Israel. The U.S. government is considering selling Israel up to 50 new F-15 fighter jets, 30 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and Joint Direct Attack Munition kits, equipment that can alter dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons.

Asked if she is considering putting legislation on the floor to block arms sales to Israel, Warren said, “Actually, let’s put this in a slightly different context. We already have an established U.S. policy here.”

CNN anchor Kate Bolduan interjected and asked the Massachusetts Democrat how this policy is enforced and prevents President Biden from approving the sale.

“I think he best we can do here is that we need to all be working together and that’s the president, that’s people in Congress,” Warren said.

The death of the aid workers sparked staunch criticism of Israel’s continued military campaign, which has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza since early October, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Israel has vowed to eliminate the threat of Palestinian militant group Hamas following their surprise assault against southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 others. About 100 of these hostages were returned in a weeklong cease-fire late last year, and an estimated 100 others are believed to still be alive in Gaza.

Biden, who said earlier this week that Israel has “not done enough” to protect aid workers and civilians in Gaza, is expected to speak with Netanyahu on Thursday.

“I am hopeful that when the president talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he will be making it clear that support for the actions of the prime minister are not … he’s not helping Israel,” Warren said. “He is not keeping Israel safe, and he cannot … continue a policy of trying to starve out the people of Gaza, that he loses support all around the world.”

Warren argued Netanyahu is only “advancing” his own interests, rather than the interests of Israel as a whole.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) was asked earlier Thursday when the U.S. should be looking at a change of policy rather than just “words.”

“I think we’re at that point,” Coons said during an interview on “CNN News Central.” “I think we’re at the point where President Biden has said, and I have said, and others have said, if Benjamin Netanyahu were to order the IDF into Rafah at scale, [if] they were to drop 1,000 pound bombs and send in a battalion to go after Hamas and make no provision for civilians or for humanitarian aid, that I would vote to condition aid to Israel.”

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