The Carter Center in Atlanta has issued a statement commending the 15 Christian leaders ― including Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons ― who recently urged Congress to investigate human rights violations by the Israeli government against Palestinians that they say are obviously in violation of U.S. law.

“Like these church leaders, The Carter Center has long been concerned about Israel’s disregard for stated U.S. policy, it said in an Oct. 31 statement. “This is demonstrated by an unprecedented massive increase in encroachment on occupied Palestinian territory, with illegal settlement expansion during recent years.”

In their Oct. 5 letter to members of Congress, the religious leaders urged an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.

“Continued U.S. military assistance to Israel offered without conditions or accountability,” the signers concluded, “will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”  

The Carter Center agreed. “This is precluding the possibility of a two-state solution and endangers a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, founder of The Carter Center.