(March 17, 2020 / JNS) More than 60 Democrats have called on the Trump administration to press Israel not to use U.S. military equipment to demolish Palestinian homes.
In a letter sent on Monday to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the 64 House Democrats—spearheaded by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)—cited the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs, which stated that there’s been a 45 percent increase in home and other civilian demolitions in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Congress members requested a probe as to whether Israel is following the requirements for recipients of U.S. defense equipment in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.
“The United States should work to prevent unlawful home demolitions and the forcible transfer of civilians everywhere in the world and prevent the use of U.S.-origin equipment in this destructive practice,” stated the letter. “The faithful implementation of the AECA is one important oversight tool for ensuring that U.S.-origin defense articles and other items recipient countries purchase with foreign military financing are not used for such purposes outside the scope of ‘legitimate self-defense.’ ”
It’s unknown if Israel uses U.S. military equipment to demolish homes, some of which belong to Palestinian terrorists and their families, though the Jewish state has used Caterpillar land-moving equipment for that purpose. Israel has demolished homes that it has said were built illegally.
The Democrats gave Pompeo until April 30 to respond.
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