Monday, February 22, 2016

PCUSA and 11 National Christian Groups Urge Department of State to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Abuses

Today, twelve churches and faith-based organizations submitted cases of apparent extrajudicial killings by Israeli forces to the U.S. Department of State.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, the organizations indicated that these cases constitute the second submission in a comprehensive project to seek accountability for documented human rights violations by Israeli forces. 

The organizations asked the Department of State to investigate whether these cases constitute violations of the Leahy Law, and requested that the Department of State investigate and identify the units involved in the killings. “If a Leahy Law violation occurred, then the units responsible should be ineligible to receive future U.S. security assistance as stipulated by the law,” the letter concluded.

Two provisions in U.S. law, collectively known as the “Leahy Amendments” or “Leahy Laws” address concerns about human rights related to U.S. security assistance.  Israel receives the majority of U.S. Foreign Military Financing.

The organizations submitting the cases were the American Friends Service Committee; Church of the
Brethren, Office of Public Witness; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Mennonite Central Committee U.S.; Pax Christi International; Pax Christi USA; Presbyterian Church (USA); United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries; and United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.