Senate Democrats want to add humanitarian conditions to US military aid to Israel during aid package disagreement

A group of Democratic senators is proposing a new requirement for countries receiving U.S.-provided weapons, stipulating that the countries must certify that they are using the weapons in compliance with U.S. and international humanitarian laws and the law of armed conflict, as a condition for foreign military aid currently under consideration for Israel.

The proposed legislation is being introduced as an amendment to a $111 billion spending supplemental bill aimed at providing new security assistance to Ukraine and Israel, additional funding for allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and some financing for new border and immigration personnel.

This amendment could complicate negotiations on the supplemental spending bill, as Republicans have already raised objections to additional spending, arguing that stricter border enforcement policies are needed.

The proposed legislation has come about amid ongoing Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip against the Hamas terrorist group. Several Democratic senators have expressed concerns about the humanitarian costs of the conflict and have urged that all assistance to Israel must abide by U.S. and international law, prioritize the protection of civilians, and ensure the provision of humanitarian aid to the civilians in Gaza.

There are varying reports on the impact and responsibility for civilian casualties, with the Gaza Health Ministry estimating thousands of Palestinians killed and wounded, while the U.S. and Israeli governments have called into question the reliability of these numbers, citing Hamas’ political control of the Gaza Strip.

Reports of specific incidents, such as an airstrike at the Ahli Arab Hospital and the targeted strike on an ambulance, have led to disputes over the responsible parties and the nature of the casualties.

While some Democrats have expressed concerns about the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and have advocated for tying military aid to new humanitarian reporting requirements, others have pushed back on the idea of conditioning aid on an ally in an emergency situation.

The proposed conditions for military aid to Israel have also faced opposition from some Republicans, who argue in favor of standing by Israel in its efforts to defend against “vicious terrorists.”

The introduction of this proposed legislation has sparked debates and divisions within the Senate over the appropriate conditions for providing foreign military aid and has raised questions about the appropriate measures to ensure compliance with humanitarian laws and the protection of civilian populations in conflict zones.

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