Presbyterian News Service reports: Fifteen religious leaders representing many major faith groups in the country, have written a letter to Congress seeking to make U.S. military aid to Israel contingent upon its government’s “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.”
Signers of the letter include Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons.
The signers say they “have worked for decades to support both Israelis and Palestinians in their desire to live in peace and well-being” and “have witnessed the pain and suffering of Israelis as a result of Palestinian actions and of Palestinians as a result of Israeli actions.”
Though they recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians bear responsibility for the prolonged violence in the region, “unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which threaten to lead the region further away from the realization of a just peace. Furthermore, such aid sustains the conflict and undermines the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
The signers urge an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.”
They urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance. [Continue reading — full text of the letter follows]