US Ignores Israeli Violations for Arms Transfers – 2024-03-28 17:38:39

Although Israel has carried out attacks that have caused casualties in Gaza, the US has not yet decided whether Israel violated humanitarian law(AFP)

ISRAEL has killed more than 32 thousand Palestinians in Gaza, displaced more than 80% of its population, destroyed large parts of the territory and imposed an aid blockade.

But almost six months after the war, the United States (US) says it has not determined that Israel has violated international humanitarian law. Washington’s statement, made public this week as part of a process monitoring US arms transfers to its allies.

“This doesn’t make sense. “It invites global ridicule and disdain to hear such statements made by the Biden administration before the world,” said Democracy for the Arab World Now Director Sarah Leah Whitson.

US law prohibits arming countries involved in human rights violations. The Joe Biden administration is bending the facts and denying Israel’s well-documented violations to appear to be in line.

Whitson noted Biden described Israel’s bombing of Gaza as indiscriminate, which would make it a war crime. Washington has also openly acknowledged that Israel is hampering aid to the region.

The Biden administration faces increasing pressure to enforce US law on arming Israel. Recent public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Also read: 6,000 Israeli Bombs in Palestine in 6 Days, Equivalent to a Year of US Bombs in Afghanistan

There are several US laws that regulate the transfer of weapons abroad. Last month, the Biden administration issued a memorandum, called NSM-20, that requires credible written assurances from American recipients that the weapons will not be used for human rights violations.

Allies must also certify that American defense items are not being used to arbitrarily deny, limit, or impede, directly or indirectly, the transportation or delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The US State Department said it received assurances from Israel and considered them credible. A day later, he said the US was conducting its assessment of the war and not just taking Israel at its word.

Also read: Israel is angry that the US abstained from the UNSC ceasefire vote

“We have not found them (Israel) to have violated international humanitarian law, either in terms of the conduct of war or in terms of providing humanitarian assistance,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

International humanitarian law is a set of rules intended to protect non-combatants in armed conflict. It consists of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and subsequent international agreements aimed at limiting the suffering of civilians during war.

According to Whitson, Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law cover the gamut: Israel is accused of targeting civilians, carrying out indiscriminate bombings and disproportionate attacks.

Also read: Finally, the UN Security Council demands a ceasefire in Gaza

“What we saw across Gaza, particularly in the north, was widespread destruction in residential areas, farms, schools, universities, churches, mosques, hospitals, highlighting the indiscriminate nature of Israel’s bombing,” he said.

Additionally, witnesses and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, accused Israel of mistreating and torturing prisoners during the war. Last month, UN experts also raised concerns about reports that Palestinian women in Israeli custody had been subjected to various forms of sexual violence.

There are increasing reports of extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces in Gaza. Earlier this month, Al Jazeera obtained footage from an Israeli drone showing four unarmed Palestinians targeting an open road in southern Gaza.

Also read: Antony Blinken: Difficult, but a ceasefire is possible

Related Articles:  Israel Denies Being Accused of Genocide - 2024-05-17 12:19:57

Although US assessments of Israel’s strikes continue, Miller said none had been found to violate international humanitarian law. Brian Finucane, a senior US program adviser at the International Crisis Group think tank, said there was every reason to be concerned that the Biden administration was not doing enough to address violations of humanitarian law in Gaza.

He said the US was powerless against Israel as it blocked humanitarian aid. The US prefers to get food into Gaza by air and build temporary docks.

Earlier this year, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich publicly stated that he was blocking US flour supplies to Gaza.

Also read: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Says There is Progress in Israel-Saudi Normalization

“I wish I could tell you that flour is coming in, but I can’t do that right now,” said White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby.

At a State Department press conference, Miller also reiterated that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are inconsistent with international humanitarian law. His comments were a response to Israel’s seizure of 800 hectares of land in the West Bank last week.

Finacune expressed confusion that the US accepted Israel’s assurances that it was complying with international humanitarian law. The US has concluded that Israel is violating international humanitarian law, so turning around and accepting Israel’s assurances is difficult.

Also read: Joe Biden denies pressuring Benjamin Netanyahu politically

The Biden administration is expected to submit a report to Congress on implementing NSM-20, which must ensure compliance with international law. But Finucane does not expect the report to be comprehensive or damning because of political considerations.

“To the extent that the White House decides that U.S. military support is unconditional, it is highly unlikely that the president’s subordinates will reach a public conclusion to the contrary,” he said.

Top US officials, including Biden, have often emphasized that Washington’s commitment to Israel remains very strong. The US is Israel’s main arms provider. Washington provides at least US$3.8 billion in aid to Israel every year.

The White House is working with Congress to get $14 billion in additional aid to the US ally this year. “Unless there is a fundamental change in the White House in terms of a course correction on Gaza policy, unfortunately we will see the same thing,” Finucane said.

Experts and advocates described the NSM-20 report as an opportunity for the Biden administration to sign off on its military support for Israel, while certifying its legality. (Aljazeera/Z-3)

#Ignores #Israeli #Violations #Arms #Transfers

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.