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State Department criticizes Israel’s attempts at ‘mitigating civilian harm’ in Gaza war: report

The US State Department on Friday criticized Israel for using US-supplied weapons in a manner that could be “inconsistent” in “reducing civilian harm” in the Gaza war.

“Israel has had to face extraordinary military challenges,” the report, sent to Congress on Friday and obtained by FOX News Digital, said. “They are using people as human shields.”

The report added: “It is often difficult to determine the facts on the ground in an active conflict zone of this nature and the presence of legitimate military targets throughout Gaza.”

According to the Palestinian Authority, around 35,000 Palestinians, including many women and children, have been killed in the conflict.

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A girl stands and looks on by the rubble outside a building that was shelled by Israeli shelling in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023. (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

The report was commissioned by President Biden to assess Israel and other U.S. allies’ compliance with international humanitarian law.

Israeli officials said the country complies with international law and “identified a number of processes to ensure compliance that are built into all levels of military decision-making,” the report said, adding that the country complies with international law. This includes issuing warnings, using specific weapons, and evasion. Places such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship.

“While we have gained some insight into Israeli procedures and regulations, we do not have complete information to verify whether ‘American weapons’ were specifically used in Israel’s alleged violations. ” [international humanitarian law] The report continues: “There was no compliance with international human rights law during the reporting period. The nature of the Gaza conflict makes it difficult to assess individual incidents or reach definitive findings.” said.

Israeli airstrike on Gaza

On October 14, 2023, a fireball erupted during Israeli artillery shelling in the northern Gaza Strip. (Alice Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)

However, the United Nations, humanitarian agencies, and international humanitarian law experts say that “Israel’s efforts to reduce civilian casualties have been inconsistent, ineffective, and inadequate, leaving vulnerable populations unable or choosing not to relocate.” “Failure to provide protection to civilians in the area.”

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The report states that Israel has the capabilities, experience, and means to reduce harm to civilians, adding, “However, the consequences on the ground, including mass casualties of civilians, mean that the IDF will not be able to effectively implement them in all cases.” “This raises serious questions about whether they are being utilized effectively.” . ”

Biden talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu

Last October, President Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

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Despite the concerns, the State Department said Israel’s assurances that the United States followed international law in its use of weapons were “credible and reliable” and that it would continue supplying the weapons.

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