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U.S. Report Raises Concerns Over Israel’s Potential Breach of Humanitarian Law

Israel May Have Breached International Law With American Weapons In Gaza

On Friday, a report from the U.S. State Department indicated that there are concerns regarding Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law during its military operations in Gaza. The report, however, did not make any conclusive judgments on Israel’s conduct during the conflict with Hamas.

The Biden administration initiated this review, examining the actions of Israel and six other nations receiving U.S. weapons. Despite facing criticism domestically and internationally, the report does not mandate specific actions from the administration.

While President Biden maintains his support for Israel and its efforts to combat Hamas in Gaza, the report reflects a growing discontent within the administration over Israel’s handling of the conflict.

The assessment focused on two main areas: whether Israel violated international law while using U.S. weapons and whether it hindered humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza. Regarding the former, the report indicated instances where Israeli airstrikes resulted in severe civilian casualties, raising serious concerns. However, conclusive evidence was lacking.

US says Israel’s use of weapons may have violated international law

According to Palestinian health officials, more than 34,000 Palestinians, primarily women and children, have been killed in Gaza, while Israel claims to have targeted over 13,000 Hamas fighters.

Regarding humanitarian aid, the report initially criticized Israel for impeding aid access to Palestinians. However, it noted a shift over time, stating that Israel is no longer obstructing the transport or delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance.

Despite this assertion, aid groups have reported a halt in incoming assistance following Israeli control over the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

In response to these developments, the Biden administration announced the withholding of a shipment of over 3,000 large bombs to Israel. President Biden hinted at further pauses in weapons deliveries in an interview.

The U.S. has historically provided remarkable military aid to Israel, particularly following the escalation of the conflict with Hamas in October. While withholding a single shipment may not seriously impact Israeli operations, it signals a divergence in U.S. policy toward Israel’s approach to the conflict.

President Biden and other U.S. officials support Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas in Rafah but are wary of civilian casualties. The administration has called for a credible Israeli plan to protect civilians in Rafah, which has seen an outstanding influx of residents fleeing conflict zones.

The national security memorandum issued in February mandated this report, reflecting growing concerns among congressional Democrats about Israel’s actions in the conflict. However, the report does not legally compel the U.S. to halt arms transfers to Israel.

Moving forward, questions remain about how President Biden will manage the U.S.-Israel relationship, particularly in light of the report’s findings. Despite threats of policy changes, little has shifted in Biden’s approach, leaving uncertainties about the administration’s red lines regarding Israeli military operations.

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