US senator ‘casts serious doubt’ on ‘integrity’ of Biden administration review of Israel’s military conduct

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Democratic senator has questioned whether the Biden administration is properly assessing whether Israel is complying with international law, following a Reuters report that some senior US officials do not find Jerusalem’s assurances credible.

“This reporting casts serious doubt on the integrity of the process in the Biden administration for reviewing whether the Netanyahu government is complying with international law in Gaza,” Senator Chris Van Hollen says in a statement.

The Reuters report found that some senior State Department officials have advised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that they do not find “credible or reliable” Israel’s assurances that it is using US-supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Blinken must tell Congress by May 8 whether he finds Israel’s assurances credible. According to an internal State Department memo, several bureaus within the agency did not find Israel’s statements credible, citing military actions that raise questions about potential violations of international humanitarian law.

Van Hollen says the Reuters report had found that the recommendations of those bureaus “were swept aside for political convenience.”

“The determination regarding compliance with international law is one of fact and law. The facts and law should not be ignored to achieve a pre-determined policy outcome. Our credibility is on the line,” he adds.

Van Hollen and some other Democratic lawmakers have pressed US President Joe Biden to impose conditions on military assistance to pressure Israel to limit civilian deaths in ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, sparked by the terror group’s October 7 massacre.

So far, the administration has not done so.

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