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Democrats urge Biden to investigate Israel’s use of American weapons on Palestinians

March 30, 2023 at 1:58 pm

President Joe Biden visits a Wolfspeed semiconductor manufacturing facility in Durham, North-Carolina to kick off the Investing in America Tour in Durham NC, United States [Peter Zay AA]

US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Joe Biden have been urged by Democrat members of Congress to carry out an investigation into whether American weapons are being used by Israel in violation of US laws to carry out human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The request was made in a letter which so far has been signed by ten members of Congress. Senator Bernie Sanders is spearheading a campaign to garner the support of other Democrat lawmakers.

In the letter seen by MEMO, the Biden administration is urged to change US policy towards Israel. “At this inflection point, we ask your administration to undertake a shift in U.S. policy in recognition of the worsening violence, further annexation of land, and denial of Palestinian rights,” said the letter. “Only by protecting democracy, human rights, and self-determination for all Palestinians and Israelis can we achieve a lasting peace.”

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The letter highlighted the “shocking violence” of the Israeli occupation forces. It mentioned the raid in Nablus killed 11 Palestinians, among them a 72-year-old-man and a 16-year-old child, as well as the violent attack perpetrated by Israeli settlers who in February set fire to homes, schools, vehicles, and businesses, killing one Palestinian and injuring over 300 in the Palestinian town of Huwara.

The latest violence perpetrated by the Israelis comes amid an already violent year, the letter continued. “Israeli forces and settlers have killed over 85 Palestinians in 2023, including 16 children,” the Congress members said, adding that the “previous year was the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2004 and included the Israeli military’s killings of two American citizens, Shireen Abu Akleh and Omar Assad. Abu Akleh was an American-Palestinian journalist who was shot by an Israeli sniper.

The wide-ranging letter also expressed concern over Israel’s ongoing violation of international law; the policies of the far-right government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and America’s failure to hold Israel to account. “Only clear steps to change political conditions will pave the way for peace,” the lawmakers said before calling on the Biden administration to ensure US taxpayer funds do not support projects in illegal settlements and determine if Israel is breaching US laws by using American weapons to carry out human rights abuses.

According to Jewish Currents, the letter was written by Jamal Bowman and has so far been signed by nine additional lawmakers: Senator Bernie Sanders, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Summer Lee, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, André Carson and Ayanna Pressley.

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