Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Biden administration to respond to the "extreme right-wing Israeli government" and recent "shocking violence" that has taken place between Israeli forces and residents of the West Bank.
Reps. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Jamaal Bowman of New York, and "Squad" Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Cori Bush of Missouri, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all signed a letter last week addressed to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying they were "deeply concerned" and demanding action.
In the letter, 14 Democrats urged Biden to "ensure U.S. taxpayer funds do not support projects in illegal settlements" and to determine whether aid sent to Israel is being used to "commit or support gross violations of human rights by the Israeli government."
"Furthermore, we call on your administration to ensure that all future foreign assistance to Israel, including weapons and equipment, is not used in support of gross violations of human rights."
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Bowman shared the letter on social media, where he said he wanted to draw attention to the "alarming actions of the new extreme right-wing Israeli government." He also suggested the U.S. should stop funding Israel as taxpayer dollars should be "used to violate human rights."
Rep. Betty McCollum shared the letter, which she also signed, and voiced her criticism of "Israel’s extremist government."
"My colleagues & I are concerned about Israel’s extremist government & its escalation of attacks on Palestinian families. Not $1 of U.S. military aid should be used to violate Palestinians’ human rights & freedoms or annex their land," McCollum wrote on social media Saturday.
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In the letter, the Democratic lawmakers said the administration of newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "includes far-right, anti-Palestinian individuals and parties."
"We urge immediate action to prevent the further loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives," they wrote. "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.
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The lawmakers added: "Only by protecting democracy, human rights, and self-determination for all Palestinians and Israelis can we achieve a lasting peace."
The Democrats highlighted a series of violence carried out by both Palestinians and Israeli forces in February, which included the death of Israeli-American citizen Elan Ganeles, who was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank.
"This Israeli government’s anti-democratic mission to dismantle the rule of law is a threat to Israelis and Palestinians alike," the lawmakers wrote. "We are deeply concerned by [the] Israeli government moves that demonstrate that illegal de facto and de jure annexation of the occupied West Bank is well underway."
And, "The Israeli government’s actions are in clear violation of international law and commitments made to the U.S.; its agenda will further devastate Palestinian communities and heighten tension with violent consequences for both Palestinians and Israelis. Only clear steps to change political conditions will pave the way for peace."
The letter was also signed by Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Jesús García of Illinois, Delia Ramirez of Illinois and André Carson of Indiana.