Investigation Highlights Israel's Possible International Law Contraventions With U.S. Arms

 May 11, 2024

The American government has raised concerns over Israel's deployment of U.S.-supplied weapons. This use might have violated international laws intended to protect civilians during conflicts.

AP News reported that the Biden administration has recently hinted that the actions taken by Israel in Gaza may have overstepped the boundaries of international humanitarian law.

A comprehensive report was prepared after careful analysis, underscoring Israel's heavy dependence on weaponry provided by the United States. Yet, directly linking these supplied arms to specific operations has proven daunting, given the complexities and chaos of wartime scenarios.

The ongoing conflict has stretched on for seven months, witnessing extensive airstrikes and ground operations conducted by Israeli forces. As a result, the Palestinian death toll has risen to approximately 35,000, with a vast majority being women and children.

Israeli representatives, such as Ophir Falk, defend their military strategies by asserting that their operations comply with international law and that they make concerted efforts to reduce civilian casualties. Falk emphasized that Israel adheres to the rules of armed conflict and that the military takes significant steps to prevent harm to civilians.

The Challenge of Upholding International Standards

It is noteworthy that the review process itself was initiated amid increasing scrutiny over the use and end-effects of American arms in foreign conflicts. In February, a directive from U.S. President Joe Biden called for the unprecedented move of assessing how U.S.-supplied weapons were wielded in wartime acts, especially those leading to civilian casualties.

Despite these efforts, there are claims of a persistent imbalance in how the U.S. enforces standards on using its military support abroad. Amanda Klasing from Amnesty International USA pointed out the perceived exemption of Israel from stringent legal scrutiny over the use of American military aid. She remarked:

The U.S. treats the government of Israel as above the law, continually avoiding any serious attempts to investigate or curb the alleged misuse of American-supplied weapons in military operations that claim countless innocents.

In contrast, critics such as Rep. Michael McCaul argue that scrutinizing Israel's military actions via such reviews fosters an anti-Israel sentiment without substantial proof of law violations.

Conflict Timeline and Broader Implications

The timeline of this report aligns with devastating occurrences within Gaza and Israel. Since October, nearly 1,200 Israelis have been killed following attacks by Hamas, marking the inception of a prolonged and severe combat phase.

The continuous restrictions and combative strategies by Israeli forces have reportedly led to catastrophic humanitarian conditions, including famine, in northern Gaza. Accusations of potential acts of genocide prompted a January intervention by the U.N.'s top court, urging Israel to take every possible measure to avoid civilian deaths.

In light of these events, the Biden administration proceeded with caution, pausing a shipment of 3,500 bombs amidst plans for a significant Israeli assault on Rafah, a densely populated refuge for over a million Palestinians. Moreover, this delay reflects deeper concerns expressed in a conversation where President Biden mentioned the possible reevaluation of military aid if Israel does not reconsider its approach concerning the war and allied humanitarian issues.

As the U.S. government manages this delicate balance of ensuring alliance support and upholding international law, the coming months are marked by heightened anticipation. The outcome of this scrutiny may significantly impact U.S. foreign policy, especially amidst the ongoing debates over military aid and the broader ethics of conflict management. These discussions will likely intensify as President Biden faces his reelection campaign, striving to maintain domestic and international credibility without compromising justice and humanitarian aid principles.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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