Ocasio-Cortez Moves to Cut Israel Arms Sales as Biden Administration Blocks U.N. Truce Vote

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) led a group of Democrats introducing a House resolution opposing a proposed sale of U.S. arms to Israel on Wednesday, while the Biden administration is opposing a United Nations (U.N.) resolution calling for an end to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The U.S. repeatedly blocked the U.N. Security Council's attempt to issue a press release calling for an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, according to the Associated Press. It also opposed a resolution calling for an end to the conflict, arguing that it could "undermine" its own "efforts to de-escalate," with President Joe Biden having told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that "he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire."

Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) introduced a House resolution against the proposed sale of $735 million in U.S.-made arms to Israel. The Biden administration submitted the proposal to Congress for review on May 5, five days before the current conflict started.

"For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights," Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. "In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions."

"At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending 'direct attack' weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence," she added.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led a group of Democratic lawmakers who on Wednesday introduced a resolution opposing the sale of U.S. arms to Israel. Ocasio-Cortez is pictured during a press conference in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 2021. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

Members of Congress were given a 15-day window to approve or disapprove of the proposed arms sale. The window is set to close after Thursday, although Congress could still modify or block the sale before final delivery. The weapons included in the proposal are said to primarily consist of key components to precision-guided missile systems.

Tlaib said that the sale of the weapons would send "a clear message" that "the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians." She also argued that the U.S. "cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime."

The U.N. Security Council resolution that the Biden administration rejected was drafted by the French and included a demand to end the conflict while condemning "the indiscriminate firing of rockets against civilian areas," according to Reuters. The resolution could pass with the backing of nine out of 15 council members as long as it is not vetoed by the U.S. or any of the other four permanent members.

The U.N. General Assembly is slated to hold debate on the conflict on Thursday, with a possible vote on the matter to follow. However, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, while the Security Council holds the power to issue binding resolutions.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.