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Biden administration won’t conclude Israel violated terms of US weapons agreement, AP sources say

WASHINGTON (AP) — A soon-to-be-released Biden administration report on Israel’s use of U.S.-supplied weapons in its war in Gaza does not conclude that Israel violated the terms of their use, according to three people briefed on it. about it.

The report is expected to be sharply critical of Israel, although it does not conclude that Israel violated the terms of the U.S.-Israel arms deals, according to a U.S. official.

The Biden administration’s first-of-its-kind assessment of its close ally’s conduct of the war comes after seven months of airstrikes, ground fighting and aid restrictions that have cost nearly 35,000 Palestinian lives, for most women and children.

A presidential directive accepted by the White House under pressure from congressional Democrats and others called for a review of whether Israel had followed international law in its use of weapons supplied by the United States and other supporters of the security during the war.

Two U.S. officials and a third person briefed on the findings of the national security memorandum to be submitted to Congress by Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the issue ahead of the report’s release. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not yet public.

A senior Biden administration official said the memorandum is expected to be released later Friday, but declined to comment on the findings.

Axios was the first to report the memorandum’s findings.

Lawmakers and others who advocated for the review said President Joe Biden and previous U.S. leaders followed double standards when enforcing U.S. laws governing how foreign militaries use support American, an accusation that the Biden administration denies. They urged the administration to directly determine legally whether there was credible evidence that specific Israeli airstrikes on schools, crowded neighborhoods, medical workers, humanitarian convoys and other targets, as well as restrictions on aid shipments to Gaza violated the laws of war and human rights.

Their opponents have argued that a U.S. move against Israel would weaken it as it struggles against Hamas and other Iranian-backed groups. Any highly critical findings on Israel are sure to add pressure on Biden to curb the flow of arms and money to the Israeli military and further increase tensions with the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his conduct of the war against Hamas.

Any findings against Israel could also endanger Biden’s support in this year’s presidential elections from some voters who strongly support Israel.

The Democratic administration took one of the first steps toward conditioning military aid to Israel in recent days when it suspended a shipment of 3,500 bombs for the sake of Threat of Israeli offensive on Rafaha southern city populated by more than a million Palestinians, a senior administration official said.

The presidential directive, agreed in February, required the Departments of Defense and State to conduct “an assessment of any credible report or allegation that these defense articles and, where applicable, defense services, have been used in a manner inconsistent with international law, including international humanitarian law.”

T he agree also required them to tell Congress whether they believed Israel had acted to “deny, restrict, or otherwise prevent, directly or indirectly,” the delivery of any U.S.-backed humanitarian aid to Gaza for starving civilians.

At the time the White House agreed to the review, it was working to block Democratic lawmakers and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont from beginning to restrict arms shipments to Israel.

Israel launched its offensive after an attack on Israel on October 7, led by Hamas, which killed around 1,200 people. Two-thirds of Palestinians killed since then have been women and children, according to local health authorities. U.S. and U.N. officials say Israeli restrictions on food shipments since October 7 have caused a full-blown famine in northern Gaza.

Human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of committing abuses against Palestinians and accuse Israeli leaders of failing to hold those responsible to account. In January, in a case brought by South Africa, the UN Supreme Court ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent death, destruction and other acts of genocide in Gaza, but the panel did not order an end to the military offensive.

Israel says it respects all U.S. and international laws, is investigating allegations of abuses by its security forces and that its campaign in Gaza is proportionate to the existential threat it says Hamas poses.

Biden said in December that “indiscriminate bombing” was costing Israel international support. After Israeli forces target and kill seven aid workers From the World Central Kitchen in April, the Biden administration signaled for the first time that it could cut military aid to Israel if it does not change its handling of war and humanitarian aid.

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, in the 1980s and early 1990s, were the last presidents to openly withhold arms or military funding in an attempt to pressure Israel into changing its actions in the region or toward the Palestinians.

A report to the Biden administration by a self-formed unofficial group including military experts, academics and former State Department officials detailed Israeli strikes against humanitarian convoys, journalists, hospitals, schools, refugee centers and other sites. They argued that the civilian casualties in these strikes – such as the October 31 attack on a building that reportedly killed 106 civilians – were disproportionate to the blow against a military target.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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