WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley – a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – unveiled two amendments he has introduced to the national security supplemental funding package being considered by the Senate this week. The amendments address two important issues related to Gaza and the West Bank.
Merkley’s first amendment declares that following Hamas’ terrorist attacks on October 7, it is the policy of the United States that Israel should be secure from terrorism and other violent acts emanating from Gaza, and that Palestinians shall not be forcibly displaced from Gaza. It also states that Palestinians displaced from their homes during the war must be allowed to return to their homes. The amendment further clarifies that Israel should not reoccupy Gaza and there should be no reduction in the size of Gaza’s territory. The amendment is modeled after the principles for a durable peace to the conflict, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out in a speech to the G7 in Tokyo last year. The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chris Coons (D-DE). Text of the amendment can be found aquí.
“The destruction and despair in Gaza is nearly unfathomable,” dijo Merkley. “U.S. policy must be explicit that a lasting peace requires security for Israel, as well as unwavering support for displaced Palestinians to return to their homes in Gaza.”
The second amendment offered by Merkley prohibits the transfer of U.S. firearms, including pistols and rifles, to Israel for purposes other than use by official Israeli active-duty military and law enforcement personnel. The amendment seeks to ensure that American weapons are not being used by unauthorized Israeli civilians, including extremist settlers in the West Bank, who have perpetrated record levels of violence against Palestinians in the past year. It requires a related report to Congress on the issue. The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). Text of the amendment can be found aquí.
“It’s critical that U.S. rifles and guns are not transferred to West Bank settlers who have carried out attacks against Palestinian villages,” dijo Merkley.