Sanders calls resumption of Israeli strikes in Gaza ‘beyond the pale’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, as Israel restarted attacks in its war on Hamas after a roughly weeklong truce.

“Netanyahu’s resumption of bombing in Gaza is beyond the pale,” Sanders posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Two million people are now in south Gaza. Many have fled earlier fighting in the north.”

Israeli fighter jets hit Gaza minutes after a weeklong truce expired on Friday, resuming the nation’s war with Hamas. Israel dropped leaflets over parts of southern Gaza urging residents to leave their homes, suggesting it will be widening its offensive.

Israel has already taken control of much of north Gaza in the initial phases of its war, and is now expected to take its war south, where both the majority of civilians and most of Hamas are currently living.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled northern Gaza earlier in the war, at the urging of Israel, and headed south toward Khan Younis, one of the towns where leaflets were dropped. An airstrike Friday morning destroyed a large building in the town and residents were seeing searching through the rubble for survivors, The Associated Press Reported.

“The pause must be extended to get more humanitarian aid in and more hostages out,” Sanders posted.

Friday’s resumption in fighting came after mediators scrambled to extend the truce in Gaza, encouraging Israel and Hamas to continue exchange of Hamas hostages and Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. The pause has also allowed a surge of humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza.

Qatar and Egypt, who have aided in the truce negotiations, were seeking to prolong the temporary cease-fire by another two days. Qatar singled out Israel for resuming fighting, which it said “complicated medication efforts and exacerbates the human catastrophe.”

Sanders called for a “significant, extended humanitarian pause” in October. In recent weeks, he led efforts in the Senate to push Israel to minimize and reduce the civilian causalities in Gaza. However, Sanders has not backed calls for a longer term ceasefire in the war.

He has publicly been critical of Netanyahu and Israel’s response to the war, and called on the U.S., and the international community to work together toward a two-state solution.

But Sanders has not backed progressive calls for a longer ceasefire in the war.

More than 100 hostages taken by Hamas in its Oct. 7 surprise attack were released during the truce, meaning about 140 remain in Gaza. So far, Israel has released 240 Palestinians from prison in the talks.

Hamas killed more than 1,200 people in its initial attack on Israel, officials estimated. Since Israel began its counteroffensive, more than 13,300 Palestinians, roughly two-third of them women and children, have been killed, Gaza’s health ministry said.

The toll is likely much higher, the ministry said, as more are feared dead under the rubble.

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