US senator questions Biden administration on assessment of Israel conduct

This was following a Reuters report that some senior US officials did not find Israel's assurances credible

By Reuters

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Published: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 6:33 PM

A Democratic senator on Sunday questioned whether the Biden administration was properly assessing whether Israel was complying with international law. This was following a Reuters report that some senior US officials did not find Israel's assurances credible.

"This reporting casts serious doubt on the integrity of the process in the Biden administration for reviewing whether the Netanyahu government is complying with international law in Gaza," Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a statement.

The Reuters report found that some senior State Department officials have advised Secretary of State Antony Blinken that they do not find "credible or reliable" Israel's assurances that it is using US supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law.

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Blinken must tell Congress by May 8 whether he finds Israel's assurances credible. According to an internal State Department memo, several bureaus within the agency did not find Israel's statements credible, citing military actions that raised questions about potential violations of international humanitarian law.

Van Hollen said the Reuters report had found that the recommendations of those bureaus "were swept aside for political convenience."

"The determination regarding compliance with international law is one of fact and law. The facts and law should not be ignored to achieve a pre-determined policy outcome. Our credibility is on the line," he said.

Van Hollen and some other Democratic lawmakers have pressed US President Joe Biden to impose conditions on military assistance to pressure Jerusalem to limit civilian deaths in the Gaza conflict. So far, the administration has not done so.

In response to a Hamas attack, Israel launched a military operation that has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's health authorities. The war has displaced most of the 2.3 million people who called the area home and has laid to waste much of the densely populated area.


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