US Assessing Reports of Civilians ‘Harmed’ by Israel in Gaza

Majority of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza are women and children. (Photo: via Eye on Palestine)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The US is reportedly assessing Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 28,500 civilians. 

The US State Department has said that under a new initiative, it is assessing reports of Israel harming civilians in its war in Gaza.

“We do seek to thoroughly assess reports of civilian harm by authorized recipients of US-provided defense articles around the world, including under the Civilian Harm Incident Response Guidance, the CHIRG,” which went into effect last week, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Tuesday.

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The Anadolu news agency reports that Miller said, “We can’t comment on the specifics of ongoing reviews, but as we have said before, we are reviewing incidents in the current (Gaza) conflict according to the process set out in the CHIRG.”

He confirmed that under the mechanism, the department is assessing Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, the report adds. 

Asked if the US is assessing whether Israel is carrying out its military operation in line with international law, Miller said: “We are monitoring the evolving situation in Gaza and are examining facts as they develop as part of our regular work and normal process.”

“I’m not going to get into what the internal deliberations look like,” he added.

He explained: “That process is not intended to function as a rapid response mechanism.”

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“Rather, it is designed to systematically assess civilian harm incidents and develop appropriate policy responses to reduce the risk of such incidents occurring in the future, and to drive partners to conduct military operations in accordance with international humanitarian law,” the spokesman continued.

International Law

Last week the White House released a directive requiring countries receiving weapons from the US to provide “credible and reliable” written assurances to the State Department that they comply with international law, the Anadolu report adds.

It came as the US is facing a barrage of criticism for providing military assistance to Israel despite reports of its targeting civilians, and credible reports of violations of international law.

Over the decades, Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid, the report adds.

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On Monday, on the Senate floor, US Senator Chris Van Hollen reportedly said “kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food.”

He added that,“In addition to the horror of that news, one other thing is true. That is a war crime. It is a textbook war crime. And that makes those who orchestrate it war criminals.”

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, also said on Monday that Israel should be pressed not to attack the southern Gaza city of Rafah, urging the bloc’s foreign partners: “If you believe the toll of death is too high, maybe you can do something about it.”

He added that the EU is not providing Israel with weapons, unlike the US, the Anadolu report continues.

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Rising Death Toll

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health,  28,576 Palestinians have been killed, and 68,291 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 8,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all of the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

(PC, AA)

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