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 ammunitionall 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


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