Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) spearheaded a letter, signed by 19 senators and House representatives, sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to challenge the Biden administration’s use of emergency authorities to transfer weapons to Israel without congressional approval.
“We shared the world’s horror at Hamas’s terrorist attacks on October 7, in which Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, committed gross violations of human rights including using sexual violence as a weapon of war, and took approximately 240 people hostage,” the letter stated. “However, we are also deeply disturbed that Israel’s response to this attack included indiscriminate bombing and has killed over 22,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom have been civilians, including thousands of children.”
The U.S. State Department has called casualty figures released by Hamas as unreliable.
Sent on Jan. 26, the letter insisted that Congress should “be able to conduct oversight of these arms transfers and determine whether they are consistent with humanitarian principles and U.S. law, and whether they advance or harm U.S. national security.”
It concluded with six questions, including the rationale for determining that such an emergency justified immediate arms transfers, the purpose of the use of 155-mm shells and what the government would provide to Israel to reduce harm to Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.