The Biden Administration suggests that Israel may have used US weapons in Gaza contrary to international law.

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TL/DR –

The Biden administration released a report, stating that it is “reasonable to assess” that U.S. weapons have been used by Israeli forces in Gaza in ways inconsistent with international humanitarian law, though it stopped short of officially saying Israel had violated the law. The report, drafted by the State Department, also noted that investigations into potential violations are ongoing but admitted the U.S. does not have complete information to verify alleged violations. Despite this, the report did not recommend any actions be taken by the Israeli government and does not trigger any new policy changes.


Biden Administration Assesses Israeli Use of US Weapons in Gaza

According to a recent report, the Biden administration states it’s reasonable to assume that US weapons have been employed by Israeli forces in Gaza in ways that may contravene international humanitarian law. However, they stopped short of officially labelling Israel’s actions as a violation.

Investigations into Potential Violations Continue

Despite ongoing investigations into potential violations, the report suggests that the US doesn’t have complete information to verify if the US weapons were specifically used in alleged contraventions of international humanitarian law.

High-Stakes Report Sparks Controversy

The high-stakes report, which covers the period from the start of the war with Hamas on October 7 until late April, was the subject of intense debate and has sparked controversy among lawmakers and human rights organizations.

Public Threats to Restrict Weapons Transfers

Despite criticism of Israel’s military campaign, the report did not mandate any policy changes by the Israeli government. However, President Joe Biden has publicly threatened to restrict weapons transfers if Israel proceeds with a major offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah.

Assessments and Determinations Difficult in Conflict Zones

The report acknowledges the difficulty of making swift, definitive assessments or determinations on whether specific U.S. defense articles or services have been used in a manner not consistent with international law in conflict zones involving foreign partners. However, the high levels of civilian casualties have raised substantial questions about Israel’s conduct.

Concerns Over Impact of Israel’s Military Operations on Humanitarian Actors

The report highlights specific concerns about the impact of Israel’s military operations on humanitarian actors, citing a series of incidents, including a deadly strike on a World Central Kitchen aid convoy.

Human Rights Organizations Question Findings

Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have questioned the findings of the report and criticized the Biden administration for its failure to take concrete action to prevent further loss of lives.

Critics Claim the Administration is Avoiding Difficult Questions

Critics, such as Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Jeff Merkley, argue that the Biden administration is avoiding the difficult questions and not holding the Israeli government accountable for the unfolding humanitarian situation in Gaza.

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