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You are here News Human Rights US says Israel’s use of US arms likely violated international law, but evidence is incomplete

US says Israel’s use of US arms likely violated international law, but evidence is incomplete

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Civilian casualties in GazaThe Biden administration said Friday that Israel's use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza likely violated international humanitarian law but wartime conditions prevented U.S. officials from determining that for certain in specific airstrikes.

The finding of “reasonable” evidence to conclude that the U.S. ally had breached international law in its conduct of the war in Gaza was released in a summary of a report being delivered to Congress on Friday. It is the strongest statement that the Biden administration has made yet.

But the caveat that the U.S. was unable immediately to link specific U.S. weapons to individual strikes by Israeli forces in Gaza could give the administration leeway in any future decision on whether to restrict provisions of offensive weapons to Israel.

The first-of-its-kind assessment, which was compelled by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats in Congress, comes after seven months of airstrikes, ground fighting and aid restrictions that have claimed the lives of nearly 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

While U.S. officials were unable to gather all the information they needed on specific strikes, the report said given Israel's “significant reliance” on U.S.-made weapons, it was “reasonable to assess” that they had been used by Israel's security forces in instances “inconsistent” with its obligations under international humanitarian law “or with best practices for mitigating civilian harm.”

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