WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Wednesday joined 18 of his Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring an amendment to require that the weapons received by any country under the proposed national security supplemental are used in accordance with existing U.S. law, international humanitarian law, and the law of armed conflict.
The amendment also requires that the president report to Congress on whether countries receiving military equipment paid for by American taxpayers meet that test and whether the use of U.S-supplied weapons comports with established presidential directives on arms transfers and Defense Department policies for reducing harm to civilians. It would also buttress 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 United States has a legal obligation to ensure the security assistance we send to our allies and partners abroad is used in accordance with existing U.S. law, international law, and the law of armed conflict. This amendment reaffirms those fundamental principles.
“The mass slaughter, rape, and other atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 were unbelievably, shockingly brutal. Any government would be obligated to respond to such an attack, hold the perpetrators accountable, and keep its citizens safe. President Biden was right to stand in solidarity with Israel in the wake of the deadliest attack against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. I continue to strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas and other terrorist groups, and I believe Israel must eliminate the threat from Hamas and secure the release of all Israeli and American citizens being held hostage. I have spent the past four months negotiating a national security supplemental package that includes $14 billion in security assistance to Israel to advance that goal.
“However, I am concerned that the way in which the Netanyahu government is currently prosecuting the war in Gaza is killing far too many civilians and risks a prolonged conflict that will engulf the region. While millions of innocent people are relying on lifesaving humanitarian aid, just a fraction of the assistance that is needed is entering Gaza. The Biden administration has repeatedly communicated these concerns both privately and publicly, and now Congress should similarly reinforce that the aid we send – even to our closest allies – is being used in a way that is consistent with our values and existing law,” said Murphy.
The amendment would:
Text of the amendment is available here.