White House says it discussed memo on security aid with Israel, which agreed to abide by it

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

IDF troops are seen operating in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo cleared for publication on February 7, 2024. (IDF)
IDF troops are seen operating in the Gaza Strip in this handout photo cleared for publication on February 7, 2024. (IDF)

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarifies that the memo issued last night by US President Joe Biden requiring all allies who receive military aid from the US to provide “credible and reliable written assurances” of their adherence to international law does not include any new standards.

Indeed, US security aid recipients are already required to ensure that weapons are not used to commit human rights abuses.

What is new in the memo is the requirement for additional assurances from recipients that this requirement is being upheld in addition to the fact that moving forward, Congress will receive an annual report from the administration detailing how these assurances are being upheld.

Jean-Pierre says that the memo “emerged in part because of our discussions with members of Congress,” all but confirming that the move was a result of pressure from progressive lawmakers demanding conditions on Israel aid amid fears that American weapons were being used in the killing of civilians in Gaza.

She is asked whether aid to Israel will be cut off immediately if Jerusalem does not provide written assurances within 45 days as the memo dictates, given that it is a party engaged in an active conflict in which US weapons are being used.

“We did brief the Israelis on this. They reiterated their willingness to provide these types of assurances,” Jean-Pierre responds.

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