Skip to content

State Department Admits Israel Violated Humanitarian Law, but Lets It Off the Hook

Yesterday, in a very carefully worded and contradictory report, the State Department issued its long awaited “findings” on Israel’s conduct of its war on the Palestinian people in Gaza, for presentation to Congress by Secretary of State Tony Blinken. The summary of the findings released yesterday stemmed from National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), issued by President Biden in February, which required all recipients of U.S. military aid to provide assurances that their use of U.S. weapons did not violate international humanitarian law and that they weren’t obstructing efforts to deliver humanitarian aid.

The Biden administration had set a deadline of this week to inform Congress whether it would accept the Israeli government’s assurances. Note that the report was written prior to the Israel Defense Forces’ current onslaught against Rafah, which the Netanyahu government is still calling a “limited” or “targeted” action, while revealing in all its horror the policy to exterminate the Palestinian people. Predictably, the State report sparked outrage among pro-Israel Republicans, who claimed it was an unjustified attack on Israel. More useful responses came from some progressive Democrats.

The report is forced to admit that “the nature of the conflict in Gaza makes it difficult to assess or reach conclusive findings on individual incidents. Nevertheless, given Israel’s significant reliance on U.S.-made defense articles, it is reasonable to assess that defense 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.…

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Sign In