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Civil Society Organizations Look To Block Transfer of U.S. Arms to Israel without Preconditions

April 27, 2024 (EIRNS)—A group of 25 civil society organizations, among them Amnesty International, the American Friends Service Committee, Human Rights Watch, have issued an open letter demanding that the U.S. stop arms transfers to Israel that have no conditions attached. “We, the undersigned organizations, are dismayed that Congress, in an emergency supplemental bill, appropriated an unprecedented $14.1 billion in military assistance to Israel without attaching any human rights and civilian protection conditions, despite the overwhelming evidence of the Israeli government’s violations of international and U.S. law over the past six months,” the letter says.

“It is clear that both Congress and this administration have been unwilling to apply U.S. law and policy and instead prefer to provide a blank check to Israel,” the letter concludes. “In fact, not only does this supplemental aid package provide Israel with billions in lethal arms, it also provides the country with privileges above and beyond anything it has ever received, in particular for the war reserve stockpile and offshore procurement. The passage of the supplemental bill further risks U.S. complicity in grave international crimes committed by Israel. We urge the administration and Congress to uphold U.S. law and policy and international law by withholding the transfer of additional lethal military aid to Israel.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, has reportedly sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson telling him that, while the State Department has determined that an Israeli military unit committed gross human-rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank before the war in Gaza began, it will hold off on any decision about aid to the battalion while it reviews new information provided by Israel. Blinken stressed that overall U.S. military support for Israel’s defense against Hamas and other threats would not be affected by the State Department’s eventual decision on the one unit. Blinken said the Israeli government has so far not adequately addressed the abuses by the military unit. “The Israeli government has presented new information regarding the status of the unit and we will engage on identifying a path to effective remediation for this unit,” he wrote, reported AP.