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Conflicts: US Government: Israel may have violated international law

Conflicts: US Government: Israel may have violated international law

The US State Department is delaying publishing a report on the use of American weapons by Israel’s military in the Gaza Strip. Is Biden’s government avoiding a clear verdict?

The US government believes it is possible that Israel may have violated international humanitarian law with weapons provided by the US in the Gaza Strip. Due to the situation in the war zone, it is difficult to assess individual incidents or make conclusive findings, according to a report from the US State Department. “However, there are enough reported incidents to raise serious concerns.”

The State Department had received reports from multiple credible UN and non-governmental sources about possible human rights violations by Israeli forces. Because Israel relies heavily on U.S. defense assets, it is a plausible assessment that the Israeli military has used them since October 7 in cases that are “incompatible with the obligations of international humanitarian law or best practices for mitigating civilian harm ” be.

Report is delayed

At the beginning of February, President Joe Biden demanded written assurances from foreign governments that military aid from the USA would not violate international law. The US State Department should obtain “credible” assurances from relevant states within 45 days. Countries whose US aid has been approved by Congress and which are currently in an armed conflict, including Israel, are affected.

The US State Department had to inform Congress about the process in a report. The deadline for this was originally Wednesday, but the US State Department announced a delay of a few days without giving any specific reasons. The report has only now been published.

Biden’s statement said at the time that if the affected countries’ assurances of compliance with international law were not communicated within this period, military support would be stopped. It also listed the handling of humanitarian aid: It said that affected countries should not “arbitrarily reject, restrict or otherwise impede” the transport or delivery of humanitarian aid from the USA or that supported by the US government.

Criticism from the Biden camp: US government is shirking

The report now states that Israeli officials have stated that Israel complies with international humanitarian law and continues to make increased efforts to minimize harm to civilians. The ministry emphasized that a country’s overall commitment to international humanitarian law is not necessarily contradicted by individual violations, as long as the country takes appropriate steps to investigate them.

The broadcaster CNN had previously reported, citing a US government representative, that there was disagreement in the US State Department as to whether Israel’s commitments should be accepted as “credible and reliable”.

Criticism also came from Biden’s own party. The report has “a big gap” with regard to the specific use of US weapons, several media outlets quoted Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen as saying. The ministry did come to a general conclusion. However, they “failed to do the hard work of an assessment” and ultimately “avoided” answering the actual core questions about compliance with international humanitarian law.

Terrorists from Hamas and other Islamist groups carried out a devastating massacre, primarily of civilians, in Israel on October 7th. Since then, Israel has been waging war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The high number of civilian casualties in the Gaza war and the humanitarian catastrophe for the Palestinian civilian population have triggered sharp international criticism of Israel’s actions. The USA, as Israel’s most important ally, has long been urging the government in Jerusalem to increase protection of the civilian population and allow more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Source: Stern

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