Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – A senior Democrat has demanded that US President Joe Biden do more to stop “racists” in Israel’s government committing “gross violations” of Palestinian rights and territorial integrity.
Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen told The Guardian after a recent visit to the West Bank that US military support for Israel is being used to annex parts of the Occupied Territories, facilitate violence by Israeli settlers and, along with inaction from the White House, is emboldening the far-right wing of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Van Hollen added that Israel should be investigated over possibly violating the 1997 Leahy Law on foreign militaries receiving US assistance whilst abusing human rights.
“President Biden should get more personally engaged in addressing these issues. We should make it clear, for example, that US military assistance is not to be used to aid and abet settler violence, and not to be used for the purpose of expanding settlements or protecting those who are erecting illegal outposts,” Van Hollen told The Guardian, adding that what is happening in the West Bank is a “land grab” of Palestinian territory.
“When you see it first-hand it underscores how alarming the situation is now with this ultra-rightwing Netanyahu government that includes known racists like (National Security Minister Itamar) Ben-Gvir and (Finance Minister Bezalel) Smotrich, and clearly shows that they’re determined to totally take over the West Bank,” he said.
“I’m very concerned about settler violence and the fact that you’ve got the (Israel Defense Forces) either looking the other way or sometimes cooperating with settlers in attacks on Palestinian villages and towns.”
Van Hollen said it is “time to really take a close look at how US security assistance is being used,” though he added that Israel still needs American support in the face of threats from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.