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House Dems Warn Israel Could Violate Terms of U.S. Weapons Use in Rafah

March 6, 2024 (EIRNS)—Thirty-seven House Democrats penned a letter to President Biden yesterday, warning that an impending Israeli military invasion of Rafah could violate the terms of National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20) issued by Biden on Feb. 8. NSM-20 stipulates that countries that use U.S. weapons must do so in accordance with international humanitarian law. There is clearly some skepticism about the administration’s enforcement of the policy. The House Dems express concern that a further Israeli expansion into Rafah “will compound the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” and further deteriorate the “already dreadful conditions for civilians, more than half of whom are on the brink of famine.”

“Our foreign policy must seek to uphold the inherent safety, dignity and worth of every individual even in the midst of horrific violence,” the letter continues. “A steadfast commitment to U.S. and international law, with a central focus on safeguarding civilian life, must remain a guiding principle in the provision of U.S. assistance to aid recipients.” However, the letter points out, further Israeli expansion into Rafah “would likely contravene the principles set forth in NSM-20.” Not only has Israel not yet provided a credible plan for the safety and support of more than 1 million civilians sheltering in Rafah. The “apparent lack of U.S. and international consultation, participation and involvement in these plans” is very concerning.

The letter demands that any evacuation plan designed by Netanyahu be “consistent with the principles set forth in NSM-20.” Any ground invasion that runs counter to the specific principles outlined in NSM-20 “should not be supported by U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance.”

The primary signers of the letter are Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).