Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023.

(JNS) Jerusalem has assured the Biden administration in a letter that it will abide by international law when using American weapons, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Israel was required to provide such written assurance within 45 days under a Feb. 8 memorandum issued by President Joe Biden.


The written assurances were signed by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and submitted ahead of Sunday’s deadline, according to Reuters. Washington has yet to officially confirm receipt of the letter.

The U.S. State Department has until May to assess the credibility of Israel’s guarantees and report to the U.S. Congress.

In the memorandum, titled, “National Security Memorandum on Safeguards and Accountability With Respect to Transferred Defense Articles and Defense Services,” Biden states, “I am issuing this memorandum, which requires the Secretary of State to obtain certain credible and reliable written assurances from foreign governments receiving defense articles and, as appropriate, defense services, from the Departments of State and Defense.”

While it doesn’t single out Israel, the memorandum came about after some Democratic senators pressured the administration over the country’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

The senators, including Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), proposed an amendment that would have required the president to report to Congress whether countries receiving military equipment acted in compliance with international law.

Last week, six Democratic senators, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, accused Jerusalem of interfering with U.S. Gaza aid efforts, sending a letter to Biden urging him to cut arms supplies to Jerusalem unless it complies with Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a White House press briefing on Monday that what Israel had to do “by Sunday is just provide credible and reliable assurances that they will abide by their international obligations. Not obligations we’ve imposed upon them, but obligations they have freely accepted with respect to international humanitarian law, which, of course, includes not arbitrarily impeding the flow of humanitarian assistance where they can control that.”

Israel has been fighting to defeat the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza since it led a mass invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, murdering 1,200 people, mostly civilians, wounding thousands more and kidnapping 253 to Gaza, where 134 remain.

Jerusalem soundly rejects any accusations that the Israel Defense Forces does not comply with international law or is interfering with humanitarian aid efforts, and has accused Hamas of stealing the majority of the aid.

On Wednesday, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that for the Biden administration to withhold military aid from Israel would be a betrayal of a U.S. ally.

“This would be an outrageous betrayal of our ally. And a reward to Hamas for committing the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust,” tweeted Pompeo.


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