Tue 21 May 2024 11:49 am - Jerusalem Time

The author of the Leahy Law: It must be applied to Israel

Patrick Leahy, who served as a member of the US Senate for 48 years, criticized his country's government for not applying the law named after him to Israel to the same extent as it applies to the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas."

He said that the application of the Leahy Law to Israel does not suggest that the American administration seeks justice in its application or what he calls the “moral equivalent,” although people today wonder whether Israel should be obligated to submit to its requirements.

He recalled that the law prohibits the US government from providing assistance to foreign security forces or units if the Secretary of State has “reliable information” indicating the involvement of those units in committing serious human rights violations such as murder, rape, torture, enforced disappearance, or other crimes. Blatant deprivation of the right to life, liberty and personal security.

However, in his article in the Washington Post, Leahy indicates the possibility of resuming the provision of aid if it becomes clear that the foreign government concerned is taking “effective steps” to bring members of the security or military unit responsible for these violations to justice.

However, the senator - who was Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee - does not believe that the law provides a magic solution, but rather it is a vital tool to remind foreign and American officials alike that American taxpayers do not want to fund operations that violate human rights.

Leahy: Although the Leahy Act was designed to apply to all countries equally, this is not always the case, “and the clearest example of this is Israel, which is among the largest recipients of US military aid.”

He explained that he has been responding to the arguments made by some since the law was passed, that the US government's "involvement" with foreign forces is necessary, and that human rights problems are the work of "some corrupt elements."

In his refutation of these pretexts, Leahy stated that he was responding to them by saying: “Let us agree not to arm and train the worst of these corrupt elements until our partners begin to purge them,” adding that this is not a “frenzy of imagination,” but rather a minimum that should not be a matter of dispute. .

According to the author, although the Leahy Law was formulated to apply to all countries equally, this is not always the case, “and the most glaring example of this is Israel, which is among the largest recipients of American military aid.”

He said that he had been writing to US secretaries of state, since the beginning of this century, about the non-application of the Leahy Law to Israel, but he had only received responses from them that were “insufficiently satisfactory, or in which they claimed inaccurately that the law applies to Israel as it applies to other countries.” .

Leahy: Washington did not consider any of the Israeli security forces units ineligible for its assistance, despite some of them’ serious human rights violations.

Leahy pointed out that American weapons, ammunition, and other aid sent to Israel are not limited to specific units, but rather are provided in bulk to its military and security forces.

Therefore, the US Secretary of State must regularly inform Israel of any unit of the security forces that is ineligible for US aid because it has committed a gross human rights violation, and the Israeli government is obligated to comply with this ban, according to the Washington Post article.

The former Vermont senator noted in his article that since the Leahy Act was passed, Washington has not deemed any Israeli security force units ineligible for its aid, despite repeated and credible reports of gross human rights violations and a pattern of failure to punish Israeli soldiers and police who violate the rights of Palestinians. .

Leahy concluded his article by emphasizing the need for the US Secretary of State to urgently provide Israel with a list containing Israeli security units that are not eligible to receive aid - including the Netzah Yehuda unit - and to regularly update the list of units that commit serious human rights violations, and stressing that no There is a country that is above American law.


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The author of the Leahy Law: It must be applied to Israel