86 House Democrats send letter to Biden saying Israel restricting aid to Gaza

WASHINGTON — Scores of lawmakers from US President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party tell him they believe there is sufficient evidence to show that Israel has violated US law by restricting humanitarian aid flows into Gaza amid the war there against Hamas.

A letter to Biden signed by 86 House of Representatives Democrats says Israel’s alleged aid restrictions “call into question” its assurances that it’s complying with a US Foreign Assistance Act provision requiring recipients of US-funded arms to uphold international humanitarian law and allow free flows of US assistance.

Such written assurances were mandated by a national security memorandum that Biden issued in February after Democratic lawmakers began questioning if Israel was upholding international law in its offensive against Hamas.

The lawmakers say the Israeli government has resisted repeated US requests to open enough sea and land routes for aid to Gaza, and cite reports that it failed to allow in enough food to avert famine, enforced “arbitrary restrictions” on aid and imposed an inspection system that impeded supplies.

“We expect the administration to ensure (Israel’s) compliance with existing law and to take all conceivable steps to prevent further humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza,” the lawmakers write.

Biden’s memorandum requires that Secretary of State Antony Blinken report to Congress by Wednesday on whether he finds credible Israel’s assurances that its use of US arms adheres to international law.

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