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War Crimes Enabled and Whited Out by USA State Department

Smoke fills the sky in Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrike, November 16, 2023.


Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrike, November 16, 2023.    Photo: AP

On May 10, the U.S. State Department issued a report claiming Israel was not breaking international law with weapons supplied by the U.S. How did they justify that? The report itself is not available at this point, but the New York Times and other sources have been able to summarize it. 

On April 29, reported on how, under pressure from the world outrage, the U.S. government went into a three-step-coverup shuffle to shut down investigation into and cover up how and why Israel dumped hundreds of bodies into mass graves next to two hospitals it bombed, invaded, shot up, and ransacked in Gaza. Then the U.S. was scrambling to bury the truth, much as Israel scrambled to bury Palestinian victims of its genocidal rampage in Gaza in shallow graves.

Here, once again, the U.S. has a three-step-coverup hustle to cover up Israel’s crimes:

  1. The State Department report acknowledged that there was massive evidence that Israel was carrying out war crimes but claimed those crimes cannot be fully documented because Israel is covering them up.
  2. The State Department insisted that the U.S. has shared “concerns” with Israel and that Israel kind of, sort of, could be interpreted as agreeing to think about those concerns.
  3. Finally, simply ignore and bury actual documented, specific proof that Israel is carrying out war crimes and keep pumping in weapons. Before the State Department’s whitewash, a carefully documented independent report pointed to “scores of specific incidents for which it believes there is compelling and credible evidence of violations of international humanitarian law” by Israel, using U.S. weapons, in the first three months of this year. (See below for excerpts from that report.)

The Independent Task Force included experts like Josh Paul, a former State Department official who in October resigned in protest over U.S. military support for Israel. When the State Department release their whitewashed report, Paul said, “Once again, the Biden Administration has stared the facts in the face—and then pulled the curtains shut.”

The Independent Task Force report documents examples of how Israel systematically targets civilians, with no possible explanation that the resulting massacres had anything to do with targeting Hamas or any other military target. The following are excerpts (some explanations in brackets from

Our aggregate [combined] analysis of credible reports involving U.S-provided weapons by Israeli forces indicates a context of systematic disregard for fundamental principles of international law, including recurrent attacks launched despite foreseeably disproportionate harm to civilians and civilian objects, wide area attacks without prior warnings in some of the most densely populated residential neighborhoods in the world, direct attacks on civilians or otherwise protected persons (e.g. police and civil defense personnel), and attacks against civilian objects, including those indispensable for the survival of the civilian population. 

Further, Israeli intelligence sources cited by credible media reports indicate that these patterns of unlawful attacks reflect reliance on an unyielding and unconditioned supply of U.S. weapons, relaxed rules of engagement, application of collective punishment, and the use of artificial intelligence technology to generate thousands of targets (including civilian police and civil defense personnel), at maximum speed and with minimal human oversight. Specific examples of such violations described in detail in this paper include, but are not limited to: 

  • A 9 October 2023 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [this is the official name Israel gives its genocidal military] strike on Jabalia refugee camp that destroyed several multi-story buildings, killing at least 39 people, for which the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UN OHCHR) found no specific military objective and no reports of advance warnings.
Palestinians remove bodies from bombed refugee camp at Jebaliya, October 9, 2023.


Palestinians remove bodies from bombed refugee camp at Jabalia, October 9, 2023.    Photo: AP

  • A 10 October 2023 IDF airstrike that completely destroyed a building in the Sheikh Radwan district, killing at least 40 civilians. Amnesty International found that a Hamas member had been residing on one of the floors of the building, but that he was not present at the time of the airstrike. 
  • A 10 October 2023 IDF airstrike on a home in Deir al-Balah that killed 21 members of the al-Najjar family as well as three neighbors. Amnesty International did not find any indication that there were any legitimate military targets present. 
An Israeli airstrike on one residential building in Deiral-Balah in central Gaza killed at least 17 people including four children, February 24, 2024.


An Israeli airstrike on one residential building in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza killed at least 17 people including four children, February 24, 2024.    Photo: Screen grab from AP news video

  • An 13 October 2023 Israeli tank strike in Lebanon that killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, severely wounded AFP photographer Christina Assi, and injured five other reporters. Subsequent investigations found no legitimate military target present. 
  • A 31 October 2023 IDF airstrike on a six-story apartment building near the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza that killed at least 106 civilians, including 54 children. Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military target in the vicinity of the building at the time of the attack, and Israeli authorities provided no justification for the attack. 
  • A 3 November 2023 IDF airstrike on a marked ambulance just outside of Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital. No evidence of misuse to commit acts harmful to the enemy was found, and no warning was issued prior to the attack. 
Palestinians walk through the destruction near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, April 1, 2024


Palestinians walk through the destruction near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, April 1, 2024    Photo: AP

  • A 24 December 2023 IDF airstrikes that destroyed several buildings in Al Maghazi refugee camp, killing at least 68 people. An Israeli military official told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster that “[t]he type of munition did not match the nature of the attack, causing extensive collateral damage which could have been avoided.”

Read the entire report: Report of the Independent Task Force on the Application of National Security Memorandum-20 to Israel

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