Rep. David Price letter to the US Department of State
[Below are the letters from Rep. Price to the State
Department and the State Department's reply.]
On August 7, 2012 David Price, US
House of Representatives, North Carolina 4th
District, wrote a letter to then Secretary Clinton.
The letter begins by stating that the topic is the US Foreign
Assistance Act and the Leahy Amendment. Rep. Price summarizes:
"...the Leahy Amendment prohibits the provision of International
Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military
Funding (FMT) assistance to countries whose security forces
commit 'gross violations of human rights'. The threshold for
determining whether such violations have been committed is
simply that the Secretary has 'credible
information' to that effect."
The letter then notes that Rep. Price's constituents have
brought to his attention reports from such NGOs as:
- Amnesty International
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
and that these organizations have alleged incidents such as:
- Illegal use of firearms
- Unlawful detention
- Unlawful displacement
- Unlawful demolition of housing structures
Rep. Price then asks 4 questions regarding the State
Department's opinions and actions:
US Department of State reply to Rep. Price's letter
- He notes that the State Department's Country
Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 (http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/190656.pdf)
cites the NGOs listed above and asks whether their reports
constitute credible information regarding gross violations
of human rights.
- He notes that there is indisputable evidence of home
demolitions in the West Bank and asks whether these
actions constitute a gross violation of human rights.
- He asks whether the State Department has ever
withdrawn aid to Israel.
- He notes that there is a statutory exception
that allows for aid to continue even if a report of gross
violations is deemed credible, providing that the country in
question is determined by the relevant congressional
committee to be bringing the offenders to justice. He asks
has this exception ever been applied in the case of Israel.
On August 31, 2012 a State
Department Assistant Secretary responded to Rep.
The State Department letter explains in general terms that it
follows a "rigorous process", takes all reports "seriously",
exempts no government, etc. It says that it very closely
monitors the human rights situation in "Israel and areas under
Palestinian control". It allows that it is prepared to take
corrective steps if there were a violation of the DoD Leahy
provisions by Israeli security forces.
Regarding Rep. Price's 4 questions (above), the State
- Does not reference the itemized NGOs. So question 1 remains
- Does not reference home demolitions. So question 2 remains unanswered.
- Says: "...no Israeli security forces unit for which we
have received a nomination for Leahy-covered assistance has
been found ineligible in accordance with the Leahy laws." In
other words, the answer to question 3 is "No".
- Says that for a variety of reasons no ineligibility for
receiving aid (by Israel) has been found, without saying
specifically whether the statutory exception Rep. Price
inquired about came into play or not. So question 4 was not