When it comes to their misnamed $95 billion “aid package,” Democrats on Capitol Hill refuse to take “No” for an answer. After the Senate passed the bill, Speaker Mike Johnson indicated he wouldn’t bring it to a vote in the House. Now, a group of House Democrats is trying to force a floor vote using a parliamentary tool called a “discharge petition.”

Two-thirds of the bill’s funding goes to Ukraine, with additional funds for (primarily military) activities elsewhere. Those provisions are highly problematic and have been covered elsewhere. But one point can’t be overemphasized: This bill would have a genocidal effect on Palestinians—or, more precisely, it would accelerate the genocide that is already underway.

That’s not rhetorical overkill. In its present form, the bill would provide Israel with $10 billion in additional weaponry and $4 billion in other military support. Although Democrats coyly describe its Israeli aid as “security assistance,” its real purpose is to reload a massive killing machine. Its passage would give Israel a green light to continue the slaughter. And despite their boasts that it provides “humanitarian aid” to Gaza, the bill permanently cuts off all funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), a group other relief agencies describe as “irreplaceable.” That will result in additional civilian deaths.

This bill shouldn’t just be tabled. It should be shredded, burned, and buried 100 feet deep. Then the ground above it should be salted so heavily that nothing will grow there for 1,000 years.

President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have falsely claimed that this bill commits funds for humanitarian aid to Gaza. It does not. In fact, it does the opposite: It defunds the largest, most effective aid agency in Gaza. It commits to no level of future aid, even through less effective channels than UNRWA. Instead, it defers that vital question for future negotiations between the White House and Congress. It does, however, set aside $25 million to oversee any aid to Gaza—money that, in an obscene twist, could wind up going to Israel.

This reduction in aid will accelerate the genocide, just as surely as weapons will, by depriving Gazans of education, medical care, food, and other lifesaving resources.

For reference, UNRWA received $120 million from the United States alone between October 2023 and February 2024. While that’s a tiny fraction of what’s needed—and of course doesn’t compensate for our role in the slaughter—UNRWA has been the primary vehicle for all aid coming into Gaza from the U.S. and Europe.

Make no mistake: That’s why Israel targeted it. The goal is to depopulate Gaza by making it unlivable for those who survive the current program of bombing and mass starvation. UNRWA’s network of schools, clinics, and other infrastructure makes its elimination a key part of that genocidal project.

That’s why Israel engineered a report from a supposedly independent group which claimed that UNRWA, which has always remained adamant about its independence, was actually a thriving network of Hamas fighters. The report was risible. Its amateurish and strident tone was only outdone by the vast and echoing emptiness where actual evidence should have been.

Needless to say, Western governments and media lapped it up.

We now have testimony that Israel used torture to obtain false confessions from UNRWA employees. Other countries, which also suspended aid to UNRWA after Israel released its “report,” began funding it again after the reports of Israeli torture became public. The Senate’s legislation still forecloses that option for the United States.

This is the bill that House Democrats are so determined to pass. This is the bill they’re pushing with a tactic that hasn’t been used successfully for nearly 10 years.

It’s too bad these doughty Dems don’t fight as hard for measures that would actually help the American people.

This bill shouldn’t just be tabled. It should be shredded, burned, and buried 100 feet deep. Then the ground above it should be salted so heavily that nothing will grow there for 1,000 years.

Not all House Democrats are on board. The Associated Pressquotes Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the House Progressive Caucus, as saying:

“What Israel is doing—and I think the president is starting to express this is as well—is absolutely unacceptable. Netanyahu cannot be doing that with United States aid. We are killing people in Gaza right now.”

House members like Jayapal, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and others have been speaking out, along with senators like Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). They are, however, a minority in their own party. It will take grassroots activism to stop this bill and end the genocide, so we can turn toward the task of building true justice for Palestine.

Donate to UNRWA.

Tell your senators and representative you demand a cease-fire, immediate aid through UNRWA, and justice for Palestine. Call the Capitol Switchboard during working hours at (202) 224-3121. It’s easy: Give the operator your zip code and you will be connected to your elected officials’ offices.

Your phone calls really do make a difference.

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Richard Eskow is a freelance writer. Much of his work can be found on eskow.substack.com. His weekly program, The Zero Hour, can be found on cable television, radio, Spotify, and podcast media. He is a senior advisor with Social Security Works.