WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2024 As Israeli operations in Gaza continue to cause devastating civilian harm, CIVIC has joined 75 diverse organizations in supporting S.Res.504, a resolution introduced by US Senator Bernie Sanders requiring a report on Israel’s human rights practices. The resolution will have a vote next week, giving 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

 

#####

 

Learn more about Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act in CIVIC’s reference guide here.

 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Hajer Naili, Director of Communications, hnaili@civiliansinconflict.org, +31.6.21.69.68.86 / +1 917 889 5982 (WhatsApp)

Matthew Longmore, Communications and Media Manager, mlongmore@civiliansinconflict.org, +1 208 403 4216 (WhatsApp and Mobile)

 

ABOUT CIVIC  

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that envisions a world in which no civilian is harmed in conflict. Founded in 2003 by Marla Ruzicka, CIVIC now works in dozens of countries. Learn more at www.civiliansinconflict.org and follow CIVIC on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. 

 

Related Content
Filter by
Post Page
Press Release Israel/Palestine Civilians Gaza civilians in conflict Protection of Civilians Conflict collateral damage Policy Brief Publication Arms Sales Human Rights US Yemen Saudi Arabia Weapons
Sort by