The US says Israel may have violated international law with US weapons in Gaza

  • Tom Bateman, State Department Correspondent
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

image caption, The US is deeply concerned about the mounting civilian deaths in Gaza.

The US government says Israel may have violated humanitarian law in Gaza by using US weapons.

In a late statement, the State Department says it is “reasonable to assess” that US-supplied weapons have been used in ways “contrary” to Israel’s obligations.

But it said Israel faced the “extraordinary military challenge” of fighting Hamas in Gaza.

The report was submitted to Congress on Friday at the behest of the White House.

While the statement was a clear condemnation of some Israeli actions in Gaza, it stopped short of asserting that the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) campaign violated international law.

It said the assurances it had received from Israel about the legal use of US weapons were “credible and credible”, so arms exports could continue.

The document noted that the U.S. government lacked “complete information” in its assessment and that because Hamas “uses civilian infrastructure for military purposes and civilians as human shields,” it was “difficult to ascertain the facts on the ground.” What are the legitimate targets of “active war zone”?

But it said that because of Israel’s substantial reliance on US-made weapons, they “may have been used in instances inconsistent with its IHL”. [international humanitarian law] obligations or with best practices to minimize civilian harm”

UN And humanitarian organizations described Israel’s efforts to reduce civilian casualties as “random, ineffective and inadequate,” the report said.

The State Department found that Israel was not fully cooperating with U.S. efforts to “maximize” humanitarian aid in Gaza during the early months of the conflict. However, this situation has changed.

“We do not currently assess whether the Israeli government is interdicting or otherwise restricting the transit or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.

One of the report’s contributors, former US ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield, told the BBC that the report was the first of its kind and that the US would continue to “review” Israeli actions.

“This is a conflict unlike the world has seen,” he added. “We tried to take all those factors into account in coming up with a very transparent, but reliable, judgment.”

More than 80,000 people have fled Rafah since Monday, the UN says, as Israeli tanks reportedly mass near the built-up areas amid repeated shelling.

Israeli troops took control and closed the Rafah crossing with Egypt at the start of their operation, while the UN It said it was too dangerous for its workers and trucks to reach the reopened Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel.

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