Action Alert- Prevent the Violation of International Humanitarian Law in Rafah

Earlier this month, President Biden issued a landmark National Security Memorandum (NSM -20) requiring that all countries receiving US security assistance provide the US with credible and reliable written assurances that they will comply with international humanitarian law and other applicable international law prior to receiving US assistance. Now, as Israel is preparing to invade Rafah, the United States must ensure that the consequences of violating the principles set out in NSM-20 are clear and enforced.

Rafah has served as the least dangerous place of refuge in Gaza for the over one million displaced Palestinians seeking a modicum of safety. Conditions in northern and central Gaza are dire, leaving refugees with no other viable alternatives for shelter and safety.

An invasion of Rafah will exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis, raising concerns about potential civilian casualties and the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver aid under desperate conditions. Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) are leading a letter to President Biden opposing a ground invasion of Rafah and urging him to use every available tool to ensure adherence to American and international law during this conflict.

As they note in the letter, an invasion of Rafah could potentially contravene the principles outlined in NSM-20, as the memorandum emphasizes the importance of credible assurances from recipient countries regarding the use of US weapons in strict adherence to international humanitarian law. A ground invasion lacking a clear plan for civilian protection raises questions about the credibility and reliability of these assurances.

The letter also warns against illegal policies, such as the expulsion and transfer of civilians, which could contravene NSM-20, as forced civilian transfers are considered war crimes. A ground invasion that runs counter to the specific principles outlined in NSM-20 should not be supported by additional US taxpayer-funded assistance.

Please join us in this critical moment to ensure that all recipients of US aid are bound to the commitments demanded by NSM-20.

Ask your member of Congress to sign on to this important letter.

You can view the text of the letter here.