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US President urged to halt planned arms sales to Israel

June 10, 2021

June 8, 2021

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations focused variously on human rights, peacebuilding, and the protection of civilians, write in opposition to the United States government’s plans to sell $735 million in advanced weapons systems and munitions to Israel. The planned arms sales to Israel would send a signal of support for Israel’s recent conduct in occupied Gaza and East Jerusalem, which includes likely violations of international humanitarian law.

Over the past several weeks, Americans have watched in horror as the Israeli government used U.S.-manufactured weapons in a devastating assault on civilians in Gaza, killing over 220 Palestinians, including at least 67 children, while Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza launched thousands of rockets against Israeli population centers. While most of the rockets from Gaza either missed their targets or were intercepted by Israel’s missile-defense system, Iron Dome, Israeli airstrikes destroyed schools, refugee camps, international media outlets, hospitals, and Gaza’s only COVID-19 testing lab. Over 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced, which has exacerbated an already desperate humanitarian situation for Palestinians on the Gaza Strip, during a pandemic.

We welcome the recent ceasefire and appreciate your administration’s support for it, but we are concerned that the situation remains extremely fragile. Even since the ceasefire has been in effect, there has been escalating violence in Al-Aqsa mosque, with Israeli police forces firing teargas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades at worshippers. Moreover, the forced expulsions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, which precipitated the latest outbreak of conflict, has also not been settled, but merely delayed by Israeli courts.

Blocking this weapons sale will not change the reality of daily life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Those living in Gaza will continue to suffer from severe shortages of life-saving medicines, food, electricity, and clean water, because of Israel’s illegal military blockade, which makes life unsafe and unbearable.  But halting delivery of the weapons would send a clear message that your administration is unwilling to fuel further attacks on civilians in Gaza.

Given the likely continuing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the Israeli government, delivery of these weapons would greatly undermine your administration’s goal of pursuing a foreign policy centered on human rights. Moving forward with this sale would also hurt the U.S. ability to play a constructive role in the peace process, which could have lasting implications for the likelihood of resolving the conflict.

We believe moving ahead with these sales would undermine U.S. moral values, national security interests, and support likely violations of international humanitarian law by sending a green light for Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. We call upon you to immediately halt these sales, provide robust humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for Gaza and engage in the sustained and impartial diplomacy needed to achieve a just, peaceful and lasting solution for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Sincerely,

List of signatories:

18 Million Rising, About Face: Veterans Against the War, ActionAid USA, Adalah Justice Project, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Dameer Association For Human Rights, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights , Al-Haq, Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, American Baptist Churches, USA, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA), American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN), American Muslims for Palestine, Arab American Institute (AAI) , Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab-American Civil Rights League, Arms Control Association, Avaaz, BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for International Policy, Center on Conscience & War, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Churches for Middle East Peace, CODEPINK, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Council on American-Islamic Relations, California (CAIR-CA), Defense for Children International - Palestine, Demand Progress Education Fund, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Disciples Palestine Israel Network, Dissenters, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Episcopal Peace Fellowship - Palestine Israel Network, Equality Labs, Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA), Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine, National Women's Studies Association For All, Freedom Forward, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Historians for Peace and Democracy, ICNA Council for Social Justice, IfNotNow, Indivisible, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), Investor Advocates for Social Justice, Islamic Medical Association at UNC School of Medicine, Islamophobia Studies Center, Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, USA, Jetpac Resource Center, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Just Foreign Policy, Justice Democrats, MADRE, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, MENA Rights Group, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office, Meta Peace Team, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Middle East Children's Alliance, Migrant Roots Media, MoveOn, Muslim Delegates and Allies, Muslim Forum of the Pacific Northwest, Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Muslim Women For, Muslims For Progress, National Lawyers Guild - Palestine Subcommittee, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, National Writers Union, National Council of Churches, NGP Action, On Earth Peace, Our Revolution, Palestine Legal, Palestinian Christian Alliance for peace, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action , Peace Direct, Poligon Education Fund, Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Progressive Democrats of America, Progressive Democrats of America -  Middle East Alliances, Project Blueprint, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Red Letter Christians, Reformed Church in America, Rethinking Foreign Policy, RootsAction.org, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Sojourners, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Stand with Kashmir, Sunrise Movement,The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society, Tree of Life Education Fund, Tunisian United Network, U.S. Palestinian Council, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United for Peace and Justice, US Council of Muslim Organizations, US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), Win Without War, Women for Weapons Trade Transparency, Women's Action for New Directions, Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, Working Families Party, World BEYOND War, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Yemeni Alliance Committee , YUCCA Action

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