Sun 10 Dec 2023 6:57 pm - Jerusalem Time

Biden's arming of Israel provokes violent reactions due to the high casualties in Gaza

The Washington Post revealed that the administration of US President Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure due to its supply of powerful weapons to Israel, with the death toll rising in the Gaza Strip and raising questions about whether the United States is making more efforts to ensure the safety of civilians, as the main military supporter of Tel Aviv. 

Human rights groups, along with a growing bloc within Biden's Democratic Party, are intensifying their work to scrutinize arms flows to Israel, which have included tens of thousands of bombs since the Hamas attack on October 7.

While Biden seeks to send additional military aid worth billions of dollars to Israel to help it in its aggression against Gaza, the newspaper says that the essence of the discussion revolves around the rules adopted by the US administration in arming foreign countries, which stipulate not carrying out arms transfers when the US government deems that violations are likely to occur. International law is more likely than not.

Administration officials say they have held extensive discussions with their Israeli counterparts to ensure they understand their country's obligations under international humanitarian law, but they acknowledge that the United States does not conduct timely assessments of Israel's compliance with the laws of war, according to a Washington Post report.

Impossibility of immediate evaluation

The newspaper quotes a senior American official - who, like other officials, spoke on the condition of anonymity when referring to “sensitive” internal discussions - that the administration is unable to immediately assess Israel’s partial compliance with these laws, given that officials do not have access to intelligence information which Israeli forces use to plan their operations and to know the intentions of their leaders.

Some legal experts believe that these discussions should be followed by more active monitoring of what happens with American weapons before providing additional weapons.

“This is just a first step,” says Brian Finucane, a former State Department lawyer who is now a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, adding that even if the United States and Israel agreed to the same rules regarding the conduct of hostilities and targeting, it remains an open question how Interpretation of those rules.

The focus on US weapons supplies coincides with Israel's intensification of its military operations in southern Gaza, with the aim of ensuring that Hamas is never again able to launch an aggression like the one that took place in October, which killed at least 1,200 people.

The newspaper indicated that Biden has pledged to provide unconditional support to Washington's closest ally in the Middle East, which for decades has ranked first on the list of countries receiving American security aid. This week, his administration took the “unusual” step of relying on an emergency declaration to accelerate the sale of tank shells to Israel, despite growing concern within Congress.

The Washington Post went on to say in its report that American-made weapons played a major role in the war on Gaza.

This is happening at a time when Gaza is suffering from a humanitarian crisis, with millions seeking shelter from Israeli air strikes and a ground attack that has turned vast areas of the Palestinian Strip into rubble, according to the newspaper. The United Nations has warned of disaster if shipments of vital supplies are not significantly increased.

The situation in Gaza represents a worsening "dilemma" for Biden, who pledged to provide absolute support for Israel's security, but also promised to put human rights at the heart of American foreign policy.

US officials say publicly that it is too early to judge whether Israel's behavior complies with the laws of war, and that the administration is collecting information to ensure that US aid is not used in ways that violate US laws, a process that could continue beyond the current period.

Lawmakers also complain about the administration's lack of transparency regarding weapons provided to Israel, which stands in stark contrast to the way aid is provided to Ukraine, the Washington Post reported.

Source: Washington Post +


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Biden's arming of Israel provokes violent reactions due to the high casualties in Gaza