Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has voiced a potentially transformative approach towards U.S. aid to Israel. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Connecticut Democrat, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed openness to the idea of conditioning aid to Israel.
This comes as lawmakers prepare to discuss the allocation of aid to both Israel and Ukraine. Murphy's proposal aims to ensure that the aid provided aligns with human rights laws, a topic of growing importance amidst reports of civilian casualties in Gaza.
His comments reflect a broader concern shared by lawmakers from both parties about minimizing Palestinian civilian casualties.
Aligning Aid with Human Rights
“We regularly condition our aid to allies based upon compliance with US law and international law," Murphy said.
"And, so, I think it’s very consistent with the ways in which we have dispensed aid, especially during wartime, to allies, for us to talk about making sure that the aid we give Ukraine or the aid we give Israel is used in accordance with human rights laws”.
Senator Murphy has been vocal in urging Israel to further reduce civilian casualties and to facilitate more humanitarian aid into Gaza. His concerns are amplified by the reports from the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza, which claims over 14,000 Palestinians have been killed following Hamas’ assault on Israel on October 7.
“I do believe that the level of civilian harm inside Gaza has been unacceptable and is unsustainable,” Murphy remarked. He highlighted both the moral and strategic implications of civilian deaths, suggesting that such casualties could inadvertently strengthen Hamas by bolstering their recruitment efforts within Gaza.
Balancing Moral Obligations and Strategic Interests
While advocating for a more cautious approach in dispensing aid, Murphy also acknowledged Israel's "moral obligation" to continue its fight against Hamas, especially after the temporary truce.
He expressed hope that Hamas would comply with conditions leading to more hostage releases but remained firm on the necessity of defeating Hamas, aligning with U.S. interests in combating terrorism. The Biden administration, meanwhile, is urging lawmakers to unify in passing aid for Ukraine and Israel.
However, these efforts have been complicated by disagreements over supporting Ukraine and now, with the addition of immigration policy, further complicating the talks.