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Defense Sec. Austin Refuses to Draw Line in Sand for Israel After Food Aid Massacre in Gaza

HeadlineMar 01, 2024

On Capitol Hill, California Congressmember Ro Khanna grilled Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over ongoing U.S. support for Israel in light of Thursday’s massacre of Gazans waiting for food aid.

Rep. Ro Khanna: “If Israel again ever stops American-paid aid from getting into Gaza, will you commit to not sending future arms sales?”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “Again, that’s — that’s not my decision.”

Rep. Ro Khanna: “We need some consequences when another country is defying you, defying the national security adviser, defying the president, defying National Security Memorandum-20. There has to be some consequence.”

Austin refused to say the U.S. would ever hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinians and violating international law. During questioning, Austin also said “over 25,000” Palestinian women and children have been killed by Israel since October 7. Though that figure is likely close to the true death toll, the Pentagon was later forced to walk back Austin’s statement, claiming he was referring to the total death toll, not just women and children.

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