• Press Release

NSM-20 Delay Inexcusable Given Ongoing Atrocities, Despite Weapons Shipment Pause 

May 8, 2024

(Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty)

In response to the reported delay in the submission of the National Security Memorandum on Safeguards and Accountability with Respect to Transferred Defense Articles and Defense Services (NSM-20) to the U.S. Congress from the Biden Administration on whether other countries are using U.S.- provided weapons in ways inconsistent with international and U.S. law, as well as a pause of a shipment of heavy weapons from the U.S. to the government of Israel, Amanda Klasing, National Director for Government Relations with Amnesty International USA, made the following statement: 

“The Biden Administration had months to put together a report on information they should already be collecting— whether grave human rights violations and other serious violations of international law are being committed using U.S.-provided weapons in seven conflicts around the world. They must release it urgently. This is especially urgent given the Israeli military’s ground operation in Rafah, in the occupied Gaza Strip, where more than 1.4 million Palestinians, including 600,000 children, are sheltering. Burying the head in the sand tactic doesn’t make the violations of the government of Israel go away. 

“Secretary Austin confirmed to Congress a pause in the delivery of ‘heavy payload’ weapons to the government of Israel, which administration officials told reporters includes 2,000lb and 500lb bombs. Amnesty International has documented Israeli forces using exactly these kinds of weapons in their unlawful attacks in heavily populated areas Gaza, wiping out entire Palestinian families. 

“Our research briefing, which we submitted to the U.S. government early last week, details civilian deaths and injuries with U.S.-made weapons, as well as other cases that highlight an overall pattern of unlawful attacks by Israeli forces. The briefing also detailed practices by Israeli forces inconsistent with efforts to mitigate civilian harm and provides clear examples of the misuse of defense articles, the commission of torture, and the use of unlawful lethal force. The briefing also details the denial of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza, which we are also seeing today in Rafah.  

“And we’re not the only ones. Many other human rights organizations and experts similarly concluded that the government of Israel is violating international humanitarian law with U.S.-provided weapons. The International Court of Justice found the risk of genocide in Gaza is plausible and ordered provisional measures twice, stating that famine is now a reality in the occupied Gaza Strip.  

“It is overdue for President Biden to end U.S. complicity with the government of Israel’s grave violations of international law. Tough conversations with counterparts in Israel are tragically and clearly not doing the job—violations continue unabated, and civilians are paying the price with their lives. While this pause in weapons shipment is a welcome first step, it falls short in the face of the relentless loss of lives in Gaza, and the prospects of further atrocities in the Israeli military’s ongoing ground operations in Rafah. We urge the Biden administration to immediately suspend all transfers of weapons to the government of Israel.” 


In a new video released today, Amnesty International USA juxtaposes quotes from Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, and John Kirby, United States National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, with shockingly devastating imagery from Gaza. You can see it here on YouTube, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Contact: [email protected]