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70+ Orgs Push for Accountability with U.S. Military Aid in Israeli Operations

Date: January 11, 2024

In the wake of months of turmoil in Gaza and the West Bank, there is a pressing call for a discussion on the U.S. role in supporting Israeli operations, with concerns raised about the potential violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Friends Committee on National Legislation and Center for Civilians in Conflict, have mobilized a coalition of more than 70 organizations, underscoring our plea in a letter to Congress. The letter urges lawmakers to endorse S.Res.504, a resolution introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders under Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act. 

The resolution mandates a comprehensive State Department report on Israel's human rights practices and the utilization of U.S. military aid in the region. The vote next week gives Congress a crucial opportunity to examine whether US aid is being used in line with international and US law.


January 11, 2024

Dear Senators,

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to cosponsor and vote in favor of S.Res.504, Senator Bernie Sanders' resolution under Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act (22 U.S.C. § 2304) requiring a report on Israel’s human rights practices and U.S. military aid to Israel. After months of devastation in Gaza, there is urgent need for a meaningful debate on U.S. support for Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank, including the extent to which U.S. military aid may be supporting violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

In response to the horrific October 7th attacks by Hamas, Israel has conducted a military campaign resulting in the deaths of more than 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza, approximately 70 percent of whom are women and children. Senator Sanders recently called the bombardment of Gaza “not just a humanitarian cataclysm, but a mass atrocity. And it is being done with bombs & equipment produced and provided by the United States and heavily subsidized by American taxpayers." President Biden has also stated that Israel is engaging in “indiscriminate bombing.”

Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have documented egregious violations of international humanitarian law by both Hamas and the Israeli military. Hamas’ atrocities on October 7th -- as well as its continued holding of hostages and rocket launches into Israel -- do not relieve Israel of its responsibility to protect its people in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law. But as the Israeli offensive devastates Gaza, including through Israel’s siege, the United States continues to provide a steady stream of bombs, missiles, drones, artillery shells, and ammunition – all apparently without conditions. The Biden administration has even bypassed Congressional oversight through an emergency transfer authority. Despite investigations revealing potential war crimes committed by Israeli forces, the State Department has admitted that it has not been assessing Israel's compliance with international law throughout the conflict.

S.Res.504 offers an opportunity to affirm Congress's important oversight role, mandating that the Biden administration document and report on any human rights violations committed by the Israeli government. Congress should ensure that arms transfers and military aid provided to Israel, or any country, are consistent with U.S. law and policy, international law, and civilian protection responsibilities. The resolution would be an important step toward these goals.

Upon Senate passage, this resolution would require a report from the State Department on Israel's human rights practices within thirty days. The resolution and debate it generates would open the door to potential follow-on Congressional action.

Congress stands at a pivotal moment. It is long overdue for the Senate to hold a public vote and debate on U.S. complicity in Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians living under occupation and bombardment, and to reassert Congressional oversight powers over U.S. arms transfer policy and foreign policy. We, the undersigned organizations, endorse this resolution and urge all Senators to cosponsor and vote in favor of S.Res.504.

Sincerely,

Action Corps

Alliance of Baptists

American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine

American Friends Service Committee

Americans for Peace Now

Amnesty International USA

Antiwar.com

Armenian National Committee of America

Arms Control Association

Avaaz

Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security

Carolina Peace Center

Center for Civilians in Conflict

Center for International Policy

Center for Jewish Nonviolence

Center for Victims of Torture

Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Church World Service

Churches for Middle East Peace

CODEPINK

CommonDefense.us

Community of Christ

Community Peacemaker Teams

Delawareans for Palestinian Human Rights

Demand Progress Action

Democracy for the Arab World Now

Democratic Socialists of America

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Franciscan Action Network

Freedom Forward

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

IfNotNow Movement

Indivisible

Institute for Policy Studies New Internationalism Project

International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)

Just Foreign Policy

Legacies of War

Libertarian Institute

MADRE

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)Migrant Roots Media

Minnesota Peace Project

MPower Change Action Fund

National Council of Churches

National Iranian American Council Action

Nonviolence International

Nonviolent Peaceforce

Oxfam America

Pax Christi USA

Peace Action

Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness

Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Quixote Center

Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace

ReThinking Foreign Policy

RootsAction.org

Saferworld

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team

Sojourners

The Episcopal Church

The Riverside Church in the City of New York

U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights

U.S. Palestinian Council

United for Peace and Justice

United Methodist Church — General Board of Church and Society

Washington Advocates for Palestinian Rights

Win Without War

Women for Weapons Trade Transparency

Working Families Party

Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation

Yemeni Alliance Committee

Download Letter Below:

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