J Street warmly welcomes the strengthening of oversight and transparency measures for US military aid through President Biden’s new National Security Memorandum (NSM-20).
These robust new reporting requirements – developed in partnership with J Street champion Senator Chris Van Hollen – will help Congress and the White House ensure that US military aid is used in accordance with our values and in compliance with international and domestic laws.
For years, J Street has called for greater oversight and accountability over military assistance provided by the United States to our partners, including Israel. The National Security Memorandum represents a significant step forward toward that goal. We applaud Senator Chris Van Hollen and his Senate colleagues for their relentless work in recent weeks leading to this outcome.
“The White House is sending a clear message to the Netanyahu government that US support will no longer come in the form of a blank check,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “These measures give additional muscle to President Biden’s continued efforts to press the Israeli government to protect civilians, facilitate aid and comply with international law.”
Significantly, this measure confirms the US commitment to ensuring its partners do not restrict or impede humanitarian aid and strengthens oversight by requiring reporting to Congress on adherence to international humanitarian law. Given concerns raised by Senator Van Hollen and other Members regarding the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and the urgent need raised by 25 Senate Democrats last week for the Israeli government to act to facilitate the entry of more humanitarian aid into Gaza, we strongly urge the Biden Administration to ensure the provisions regarding humanitarian aid are fully enforced.
Importantly, as the executive action includes a narrow range of exemptions, it will not apply to purely defensive and non-lethal forms of assistance, such as Iron Dome.
We trust this Memorandum will bolster support for the supplemental foreign aid package currently before the Senate. J Street looks forward to the delivery of comprehensive and thorough reports as required by this executive action in the coming months, and to the firm and swift enforcement of its requirements on all countries receiving our aid in the years ahead.