Introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senate Resolution 504 would require the State Department to investigate and report on potential human rights violations committed by Israel, focusing on the role that U.S.-supplied weapons have played in civilian deaths and injuries, in violation of international law (https://vermontbiz.com/news/2024/january/14/sanders-offers-resolution-israel-and-gaza-under-502bc). Please do this TODAY; the vote is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16th.
The resolution was introduced under Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits the U.S. from providing weapons or other forms of support for countries committing gross violations of human rights or war crimes. If Congress passes the resolution, the State Department is required to investigate potential violations and provide a report within 30 days. If it fails to provide it in that time, all security assistance to that country must be halted until the report is submitted. Presidential veto is not allowed under the Act.
U.S. complicity in Israel’s human rights violations have been widely debated. On December 5th, Amnesty International issued a report which claimed that U.S.-made military equipment used in two airstrikes killed 43 civilians, decimating two families in Gaza. According to the report, remnants of U.S.-made JDAMs, a kit that converts unguided bombs into GPS-guided weapons, were found at the sites of both strikes. Codes found on fragments of the kits link to them to Boeing. “It’s a safe assumption to say that US weapons are being used extensively in the current Israeli operations in Gaza,” says Elias Yousif, an expert in U.S. arms transfers at the Stimson Center (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/12/israel-opt-us-made-munitions-killed-43-civilians-in-two-documented-israeli-air-strikes-in-gaza-new-investigation/).
Approval of this resolution presents Congress with the opportunity to restrict or end military assistance for the Gaza war, could serve as a key leverage point in negotiations with Israel, and can establish a precedent to prioritize human rights and adherence to international law. Contact Senator Bennett and Hickenlooper and tell them to vote YES on S. Res. 504.
Phone: DC: (202) 224-5852; FC: (970) 224-2200
Phone: DC: (202)224-5941; Denver (303) 244-1628