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Feb. 16—Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in a dramatic speech on the floor of the Senate on Feb. 12, accused Israel of a “textbook war crime,” the crime of withholding food aid to Palestinians. “For weeks, the United Nations and international aid organizations have warned that Palestinian civilians are on the verge of starvation,” Van Hollen said. “Those warnings have been ignored and dismissed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his extremist government.” He cited an analysis recently published by the World Food Program and UNICEF which found that 90% of children aged 6 to 23 months and pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls faced severe food poverty. Van Hollen also reported that the WFP has confirmed that people have started dying of starvation in Gaza, including children.“

Kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” Van Hollen said. “In addition to the horror of that news, one other thing is true: That is a war crime. It is a textbook war crime, and that makes those who orchestrate it war criminals.” As for what the U.S. should do about the deliberate starvation of children, Van Hollen said: “The President must demand that the Netanyahu government immediately allow more food and water and other lifesaving supplies into Gaza and make sure it reaches the children and other people who are starving, including in the north.” Otherwise, he should invoke the relevant provision of the Foreign Assistance Act to cut off assistance to Israel.

Then Van Hollen turned around and voted for the $95.3 billion war budget bill, which includes $14 billion for Israel.