US Senator Patrick Leahy along with 10 other Democratic congressmen have called on the US to investigate the possibility of “gross violations of human rights” by Israel’s and Egypt’s security forces, including “extrajudicial killings.”
Leahy, who has in the past sought a greater role for human rights in US foreign policy, made the request in a joint letter sent to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Feb. 17, suggesting that if the reports of rights violations should be proven, US military assistance should be cut off.
“There have been a disturbing number of reports of possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and Egypt — incidents that may have involved recipients, or potential recipients, of US military assistance,” the congressmen said in the letter published on Tuesday by Politico.
The letter cited findings by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations of “extrajudicial killings by the Israeli military and police of Fadi Alloun, Saad al-Atrash, Hadeel Hashlamoun, and Mutaz Ewisa,” as well as several cases of torture.
“We urge you to determine if these reports are credible and to inform us of your findings,” the congressmen said.
The letter went on to say they had received information that the usual mechanisms in determining the provision of US military assistance and monitoring its use had been “hindered” by a “unique situation” created since the Camp David Accords.
It suggested the US State Department and Department of Defense may be in breach of the Leahy Law — a law named after the Vermont senator that prohibits the provision of military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.
If the reports were proven true, the congressmen said, the US should “take appropriate action called for under the law.”