State Department Says Israel Likely Breaking Law With US Weapons But Won’t Cut Aid

In a long-awaited report, the State Department claims it can't prove that Israel has violated international law with US weapons

On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken submitted a long-awaited report to Congress that says Israel has likely used US weapons in ways that are “inconsistent” with international law but claims there’s no way to prove it. The findings won’t impact the flow of US military aid.

The report, which was issued a few days late, fulfills a new national security memorandum that requires assurances from countries receiving US military aid that the weapons won’t be used to violate US or international law. The US is supposed to cut off aid if those assurances are deemed not credible and if the country is blocking shipments of humanitarian aid.

Despite the mountain of evidence that Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza and the continued restrictions on aid, the State Department report deems the Israeli assurances “credible and reliable so as to allow the provision of defense articles … to continue.” The report also claims it received credible assurances from Ukraine, Nigeria, Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, and Somalia.

Regarding the restrictions on aid, the report says Israel “did not fully cooperate” in the first months of its onslaught in Gaza but claims there’s been a “substantial increase” in its efforts on humanitarian aid more recently. But just a few days before the report was issued, Israel captured the Rafah border crossing, the most vital channel for aid deliveries, and it remains closed.

The report says that it’s “reasonable to assess” that US-provided weapons “have been used by Israeli security forces since October 7 in instances inconsistent with its [international humanitarian law] obligations or with established best practices for mitigating civilian harm.” But it claims the US doesn’t have “complete information” on the issue.

Blinken reaffirmed the report in an interview on Sunday. “When it comes to the use of weapons, concerns about incidents, where given the totality of the damage has been done to children, women, men, it was reasonable to assess that, in certain instances, Israel acted in ways that are not consistent with international humanitarian law,” he said.

Human rights organizations have compiled evidence about specific Israeli strikes that have hit residential buildings that could not be considered military targets and slaughtered a large number of civilians. Back in November, +972 Magazine published a report that revealed Israel was intentionally targeting residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure, which it refers to as “power targets.”

The US has been flying surveillance drones over Gaza and likely has far more evidence of Israeli war crimes than what’s publicly available, but Blinken claimed Hamas’s style of fighting “makes it very difficult to determine, particularly in the midst of war, exactly what happened, and to draw any final conclusions from any one incident.”

Blinken repeated a warning from President Biden that the US would stop arming Israel with heavy bombs if it carried out a large-scale operation in Rafah. But Israel’s attack on Rafah continues to escalate, and so far, there’s been no US action. The Israeli military has also said that it has enough munitions for its planned operations in the city.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.