After advocating on Wednesday for a ceasefire by Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) turned to MSNBC to voice his concerns about the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, emphasizing the need for a humanitarian pause. Sanders is calling for an immediate halt to hostilities and the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to the region.

Sanders began by acknowledging Israel’s right to defend itself, stating, “Israel has a right to defend itself. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that.” However, he expressed deep concern about its retaliatory attack and the current situation, which he described as “one of the more horrific moments in modern history.”

“But what they are doing now in an indiscriminate way, bombing refugee camps, arming ambulances, killing thousands of innocent men and women and children, a violation of international law, is simply not acceptable,” he stated.

Sanders, who briefly lived in Israel in the 1960s, called attention to the significant financial aid provided by the U.S. to Israel, amounting to 2.8 billion dollars annually. He emphasized that while Israel has the right to receive this aid, it should also align with American values and principles.

“So, in my view, I said this several weeks ago: understand we need to pause right now in the bombing,” he urged, stressing the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. 

In his words: “We need to deal with the horrific humanitarian disaster that you described. I mean, they have no water, they have no food, they have no fuel. Hospitals have been bombed. It’s a total disaster. We are on the brink of seeing dozens more people die, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Where are they going? Many of them are living in overcrowded conditions in the United Nations facilities.”

Sanders concluded his statement by asserting the importance of protecting innocent lives. Referring to Israel, he stated, “Obviously they have a right to defending themself but Palestinian children, are as important as Israeli children, as important as American children. Stop the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people.”

This appeal for a humanitarian pause emphasized the senator’s Wednesday call on the Senate floor, in which he advocated for a temporary halt to hostilities to allow for the delivery of essential aid and possible evacuations.

While some have called for a ceasefire in Israel’s counter attack that has reportedly resulted in the death of 8,500 Palestinians, Sanders, in his address, emphasized the need for action by the U.S. Congress, the Biden administration, and the international community to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. 

According to him, “medical facilities there are in nightmarish conditions, with hundreds of babies in incubators and patients on life support at risk of death should the generators that sustain them run out of fuel.”

Sanders’ stance on the Gaza conflict comes after he faced criticism from some quarters, particularly among Palestinian rights advocates who believe he should have gone further in condemning the Israeli assault on the besieged region.