Our Letter to President Biden- It's Time to Condition Aid

December 21, 2023

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear President Biden,

On October 7th, following the horrific Hamas attack on Israel, the world changed. Since then leaders, including you, have been faced with difficult choices and challenging options. We write to you today to express our gratitude for your commitment to securing the recent humanitarian pauses, obtaining the release of hostages, and addressing the urgent humanitarian needs arising from the Israel-Hamas conflict. And we are deeply thankful for your forward thinking in continuing to emphasize the need to think about what comes after this war. The path to a better future for Israelis and Palestinians lies only with a political agreement and an end to this conflict. But we will not get there by doing only what we have done in the past. 

The supplemental funding request announced by your administration on October 20, 2023 represents a significant step toward providing security assistance to Israel and delivering crucial humanitarian aid to Palestinians affected by the conflict.

Aid to Israel is important, but it is imperative that assistance provided to Israel aligns with our nation's values and policy priorities. We have taken note of prominent Democratic figures advocating for the conditioning of aid, and we appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this matter. As you rightly stated, conditioning aid is a "worthwhile thought." We agree, and we want you to know that we support conditioning aid to Israel.

Accountability regarding Israel’s use of US-provided equipment is vital, and we must ensure strict adherence to both US and international laws, with a particular emphasis on protecting civilians. We urge you to place key guardrails and conditions on US security assistance to Israel in order to guarantee that Israeli military operations supported by US tax dollars are conducted within the bounds of American and international humanitarian law, including measures to minimize civilian casualties.

Assistance to Israel is a powerful tool that can and should be used to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. We urge you to consider conditioning US aid to Israel not only in relation to Israel’s conduct in Gaza but also based on other actions by Israel that jeopardize the two-state solution. As the world’s attention is understandably on the war between Israel and Hamas, rampant settler violence and unchecked settlement expansion in the West Bank threatens to further destabilize the region and to erode any hope for a negotiated solution to the conflict. We urge you to leverage US assistance to protect the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace by placing clear conditions on the aid the United States supplies to Israel. 

Conditioning aid is not a punitive measure, rather it is a reflection of our commitment to Israel's security and its future as a democracy. US aid to Israel is a bedrock element of US foreign policy and we support it. However, this must be guided by our values and not be used in gross violations of human rights. As with every other country that receives US aid, there must be clear conditions that explicitly ensure US tax-payer dollars serve our foreign policy objectives, and specific consequences if our assistance is used in contravention to US or international law. Conditioning aid is the pro-Israel position.

Mr. President, your leadership during this crisis has been indispensable. We trust that your administration will continue to navigate these challenges with a steadfast commitment to upholding our values. We appreciate your attention to these urgent matters and stand ready to support efforts that contribute to a peaceful resolution to this conflict.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 Sincerely,

<1230 signatures>

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