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US State Department Report Says Israel’s Use Of Weapons May Have Violated International Law


The Biden administration released a 46-page unclassified State Department document stating that Israel may have violated international humanitarian law. But the administration stopped short of outright condemnation, stating that it could not verify specific instances where those weapons have been used in such alleged breaches.

“The nature of the conflict in Gaza makes it difficult to assess or reach conclusive findings on individual incidents,” it said.

“Nevertheless, given Israel’s significant reliance on US-made defence articles, it is reasonable to assess that defence articles covered under NSM-20 have been used by Israeli security forces since October 7 in instances inconsistent with its IHL obligations or with established best practices for mitigating civilian harm,” it said, referring to international humanitarian law.”

The unclassified State Department report to Congress is required under a new National Security Memorandum (NSM) that President Joe Biden issued in early February. It comes after the Biden administration has stated that it will “pause” one package of arms to Israel and that it is reviewing others. However, it maintained its continued long-term support for Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has reacted with defiance to the US stance, In a clip on social media, he said. “If we have to fight alone, we will stand alone,” and “fight tooth and nail.” This is with regard to Israel’s ongoing invasion of Rafah, which Israel says is necessary to root out Hamas, where 1.4 million Palestinians are believed to be sheltering. This invasion, has been condemned by much of the world, even countries that are traditional supporters of Israel.

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Israel receives some $3 billion in US weapons a year. President Biden stated that those weapons to Israel could be stopped in a CNN interview.

The Biden administration has come under backlash for its continued support to Israel from fellow Democrats.

Separately, Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, has put a hold on an $18 billion arms transfer package for Israel that would include dozens of Boeing F-15 aircraft while he awaits more information about how Israel would use them.

Senator Chris Murphy, the Democratic chair of the Foreign Relations Mideast subcommittee, cited concern about Rafah. “I do not think it is our strategic or moral interest to help Israel conduct a campaign in Rafah that is likely to kill thousands of innocent civilians and not likely impact Hamas’ long-term strength in a meaningful way,” he said.

(Reuters and other agencies)    

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Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.