Amendment would require that any country receiving weapons under proposed national security funding legislation to use them in accordance with U.S. law and international humanitarian law
More than 20,000 Palestinian civilians have lost their lives in the aftermath of the deadly October 7 terror attacks against innocent Israelis
Last year, Senator Reverend Warnock pushed the Biden Administration to support Israel’s defense while taking action to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza civilians caught in the crossfire
Senator Reverend Warnock: “While remaining committed to the defense of our allies, let us not lose sight of our common humanity with the millions of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of conflicts raging around the world”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced his support for an amendment would require that any country receiving weapons under proposed national security funding legislation to use them in accordance with U.S. law and international humanitarian law.
“The United States has commitments to both its allies and the rule of law, and with over 20,000 Palestinian civilian lives lost since Hamas’ massacre of innocent Israelis, it is critical any aid we provide is used with full recognition of our laws and international human rights standards. America must not only be a strong leader on the world stage, but a moral one too. While remaining committed to the defense of our allies, let us not lose sight of our common humanity with the millions of defenseless civilians caught in the crossfire of conflicts raging around the world,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.“This amendment will help provide transparency and accountability to the American taxpayer while defending our allies and protecting civilian life; I will continue working to ensure we strengthen international respect for our laws and universal respect for life.”
The amendment also requires that the President report to the Congress on whether countries receiving military equipment paid for by American taxpayers under the proposed national security funding legislation are complying with U.S. and international laws, and whether the use of U.S-supplied weapons comports with established presidential directives on arms transfers and Department of Defense policies for reducing harm to civilians. Additionally, it would reinforce current law that prohibits U.S. security assistance to any country that prevents or restricts U.S. humanitarian assistance to those in need, subject to a presidential waiver. The amendment does not apply to funds for air defense systems or other systems that the president determines will be used for strictly defensive purposes.
The Senators’ amendment:
- Requires that the weapons received by any country under this bill are used in accordance with U.S. law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict.
- Requires that the president obtain assurances that any country receiving weapons through this bill cooperate fully with U.S.-supported efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, subject to a presidential waiver.
- Requires that the president report to the Congress within 30 days on whether each country receiving U.S. security assistance through this bill is:
o Using U.S.-funded military equipment in accordance with:
· Their intended purposes and U.S. end-use monitoring programs;
· international humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict, and U.S. law;
· the President’s 2023 Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy and the Defense Department’s Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR-AP);
o Fully cooperating with U.S. efforts and U.S.-supported international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians
- Clarifies that these provisions do not apply to funds for air defense systems or other systems that the president determines will be used for strictly defensive purposes.
Senator Warnock cosponsored the amendment following its unveiling by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). In addition to Senators Warnock and Van Hollen, the amendment is supported by Senators Dick Durbin, (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Ed Markey (D-MA).
The text of the amendment is available HERE.
Following October’s deadly terrorist attacks by Hamas militants against innocent Israelis, Senator Warnock urged the Biden Administration to provide international humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and further support to Israel for their immediate defense while protecting civilian lives. Additionally, Senator Warnock urged the Treasury Department and the White House to investigate and halt the illicit usage of cryptocurrency by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah for money laundering and financing of their operations, including the recent terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas. In November, Senator Warnock cosponsored a bipartisan Senate resolution condemning Hamas, demanding that Hamas provide care for the hostages they have taken, and demanding Hamas release all hostages. Senator Warnock remains committed to supporting our allies while upholding U.S. and international law and human rights for innocent civilians. Additionally, earlier this month, Senator Warnock signaled his support for an amendment introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) that would maintain congressional oversight of foreign military assistance by striking a provision in the proposed national security supplemental funding bill that waives oversight requirements for U.S. aid. If passed, the amendment would preserve the congressional notification process for assistance provided to Israel, just as congressional notifications are required for all other nations.