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US Is Breaking at Least 6 Laws With Assistance to Israel, Veterans’ Group Says

Every person involved in arms transfers to Israel at the State Department is culpable, Veterans for Peace says.

Residents inspect the heavily damaged Al-Huda Mosque as a result of Israeli attacks on Rafah, Gaza, on February 12, 2024.

A prominent veterans group is demanding that the State Department stop sending weapons to Israel, laying out an extensive case that sending Israel arms for its genocidal slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza is a violation of at least six U.S. laws regarding foreign assistance, weapons and military activity.

In a scathing letter sent Sunday to State Department officials, Veterans for Peace said that their own investigations into the U.S.’s arms transfers to Israel have found that officials are breaking laws like the Leahy Law and the Genocide Convention Implementation Act by supporting Israel’s efforts to commit genocide in Gaza. The group cites findings by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a U.S. federal court, including testimony from former State Department weapons transfer official Josh Paul.

“On behalf of thousands of members of Veterans for Peace (VFP), I am writing to urgently demand that the Department of State suspend ongoing shipments of military weapons and munitions from the United States to Israel,” read the letter, signed by Veterans for Peace President Susan Schnall and National Director Mike Ferner.

The group says that there are “many credible reports” that Israel is violating international human rights laws and acting with genocidal intent in its assault of Gaza, made possible in large part by a massive cache of U.S.-provided weapons and support.

They write that it is State Department officials’ obligation to listen to the perspectives of the ICJ and a U.S. federal judge finding that it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide and therefore potentially violating international guidelines as well as U.S. laws preventing officials from sending military assistance that would be used to commit war crimes.

“The Department is legally required to step outside the Biden Administration’s reflexive support of Israel to consider whether there have been serious misrepresentations by Israel or a lack of diligence by the U.S. State Department in permitting Israel to receive U.S. aid while committing genocidal atrocities with impunity,” the letter states. “Continuing to supply Israel with arms assistance means continued genocidal extermination of Palestinians and destruction of their culture.”

The group cites testimony from Paul during the recent case suing the U.S. on behalf of Palestinians in which he says that the U.S. is not only aware of Israel’s violations but taking steps to shield it from accountability.

Indeed, the Biden administration has already circumvented Congress multiple times to send Israel weapons, and has sought to send arms to Israeli forces in secrecy, without oversight from Congress or the public. Meanwhile, U.S. officials have continually provided cover for Israel politically, saying that their military actions are justified even as Israeli officials vow to wipe out Palestinians from Gaza and constantly make statements inciting genocide.

“Just as any good soldier can recognize when they are given an unlawful order, we believe some State Department staff are horrified at the orders they’re given and will decide to uphold the law, find the courage to speak out and demand an end to the carnage,” said Ferner in a statement. “The IDF has killed over 30,000 Palestinians and is utterly destroying Gaza. These actions amount to genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and VFP wants them investigated.”

“We believe the State Department — from the Secretary down to every staff person working on arms transfers to Israel — is in criminal violation of U.S. statutes regarding how U.S. weaponry can be used,” Ferner went on. “There’s no ‘Israel exception’ that makes it okay for U.S. weapons to be used in genocide even if it’s labeled self-defense.”

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