Lawmakers urge Biden to ensure US funds not used in Israeli settlements

A group of American lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden’s administration to undertake a foundational “shift” in its dealings with Israel and ensure that American taxpayers’ money will not be allocated to Israeli settlements.

In a letter to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, 14 progressive Democratic lawmakers expressed “deep concern” about the escalation in violence in the occupied West Bank and the conduct of the new Israeli cabinet.

The lawmakers, headed by Representative Jamaal Bowman and Senator Bernie Sanders, urged the White House “to undertake a shift in US policy in recognition of the worsening violence, further annexation of land, and denial of Palestinian rights.”

The signatories called on Biden and Blinken to “ensure US taxpayer funds do not support projects in illegal settlement” and “determine whether US-origin defense articles have been used in violation of existing US laws.”

They called on the Biden administration “to ensure that all future foreign assistance to Israel, including weapons and equipment, is not used to support gross violations of human rights, including by strengthening end-use monitoring and financial tracking.”

Thursday’s letter also said hardline officials in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet were involved in “pushing repressive, anti-democratic policies and escalating violence towards the Palestinian population.”

The Democratic lawmakers said the Israeli regime has continued to authorize settlement-building despite US objections. “We are deeply concerned by Israeli…moves that demonstrate that illegal de facto and de jure annexation of the occupied West Bank is well underway.”

The letter marked a rare call from Congress for curbing the $3.8 billion Israel receives in US military assistance every year.

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