US lawmakers call for probe of Israeli military’s alleged human rights violations


(JTA) — Eleven Congress members have asked the Obama administration to investigate alleged human rights violations by the Israeli and Egyptian military.

The request from the 10 House of Representatives lawmakers and one senator, all Democrats, came in a letter sent last month to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Politico reported Wednesday.

If such violations are proven, it could trigger a law that would withhold military assistance to Israel and Egypt.

“There have been a disturbing number of reports of possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and Egypt — incidents that may have involved recipients, or potential recipients, of U.S. military assistance,” read the letter dated Feb. 17, according to Politico. “We urge you to determine if these reports are credible and to inform us on your findings.”

The senator who signed on to the letter is Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of the Leahy Law, which bars the State and Defense departments from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.

Kerry is asked to determine if any of the violations would trigger the Leahy Law, and if so to “take appropriate action under the law.”

The letter cites Amnesty International reports alleging the “extrajudicial killings” of at least four Palestinians, men and women. Among those named are Fadi Alloun, who stabbed a 15-year-old Jewish teen and was shot and killed during the chase to apprehend him; Saad Al-Atrash, who was shot and killed as he tried to stab a soldier in Hebron; and Hadeel Hashlamoum, a Palestinian woman who was shot to death after arriving at a Hebron checkpoint with a knife.

Kerry is asked as well to update lawmakers on mechanisms for monitoring U.S. military aid to Israel and Egypt.

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