Democrats lawmakers petition Biden to condition foreign aid to Israel

14 Democratic lawmakers urge the Biden White House to undertake a fundamental change in American policy on military aid to the Jewish state.

By i24NEWS


A group of 14 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged the Biden Administration to undertake a fundamental change in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY)and Ayanna Pressley (MA) held a press conference on Monday 15 July 2019 to respond to President Donald Trump’s criticism of them. – Screenshot/ YouTube

In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the group led by Representative Jamaal Bowman and Senator Bernie Sanders calls on the leaders to “undertake a change in American policy in recognition of the aggravation of violence, the continuation of the annexation of land and the denial of Palestinian rights”.

“It is only by protecting democracy, human rights and the self-determination of all Palestinians and Israelis that we will be able to achieve a lasting peace,” added the signatories, among whom are representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, known for their anti-Israeli positions.

The lawmakers also asked the Biden administration to ensure that U.S. taxpayers’ money is not used to finance “Israeli settlement projects” and to determine whether U.S. military aid to the Jewish state is in violation of the arms export control act or the so-called “Leahy Law”.

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The arms export control act stipulates that U.S. weapons are sold only for legitimate self-defense purposes, while the Leahy Act prohibits US funds from being used to equip or train foreign military forces suspected of human rights violations or war crimes.

“In addition, we ask your administration to ensure that any future foreign aid to Israel, including weapons and equipment, is not used to support gross violations of human rights, in particular by strengthening end-use control and financial traceability. We ask you to respond with a detailed plan on how the administration plans to achieve this goal,” the letter says.

The lawmakers say that they considered that “the undemocratic mission of this Israeli government aimed at dismantling the rule of law is a threat to Israelis as well as Palestinians”.

In the past, Sanders has more than once called on the United States to condition its aid to Israel, including last February.


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