US Opens Probe Into US-Supplied Weapons & Possible Israeli War Crimes

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 15, 2024 - 10:45 AM

Throughout the months-long brutal Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza and the accompanying ground assault, President Biden has been consistent in refusing calls (including within Congress) to impose conditions on US-supplied weaponry used by Israel.

Already at least one European country and NATO member has halted weapon supply transfers to Israel on fears they could be used for war crimes or to violate Palestinians' human rights. But all eyes remain on Washington, which remains the Israeli military's biggest supplier of deadly arms and munitions by far. Is the Biden administration finally about to change course? Or is it more of the same premature signaling for the sake of calming an international (and domestic) audience's concern?

The U.S. is investigating several Israeli airstrikes in Gaza that killed dozens of civilians and the possible use by Israel of white phosphorus in Lebanon, as part of a probe by the State Department to determine whether America’s closest ally has misused its bombs and missiles to kill civilians, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Illustrative file image of alleged White Phosphorus use

That the US would begin to look at alleged white phosphorus use in Lebanon comes very late, given that as early as mid-October Human Rights Watch said it verified videos of the internationally banned munition in use by Israeli forces. However HRW noted at the time white phosphorus can be used "either for marking, signaling, and obscuring or as a weapon to set fires that burn people and objects."

Israel has rejected the allegations that it is using 'illegal' munitions, and the Biden administration has thus far been content with the denials, or else has just shrugged off the reports. This was on display in an October appearance by national security advisor Jake Sullivan on NBC News’ Meet the Press.

"I have seen the reports of that. The IDF has actually come out and said they were not using phosphorus bombs. I’m not going to sit here… and draw red lines," Sullivan said at the time. "I was asked this same question at the White House podium a few days ago, and I said, 'You know, it’s not my job in public to draw red lines.'"

The White House has maintained this policy ever since; however, last week President Biden for the first time sharply criticized Israel's military campaign as "over the top" - leading to some serious confusion given the US is arming this very operation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, "I don't know exactly what he [Biden] meant by that, but put yourself in Israel's shoes. We were attacked. Unprovoked attack, murderous attack on Oct. 7." He added: "I think we've responded in a way that goes after the terrorists and tries to minimize the civilian population in which the terrorists embed themselves and use them as human shields."

Despite the "over the top" remark, which seems an outlier talking point from the administration, Biden has remained supportive of Israel's 'counterterror' mission, but what's clear is that he's feeling the pressure headed into the November election.

The Wednesday WSJ report details another strike which has come under US scrutiny as follows: "One attack the State Department is currently investigating is an Oct. 31 airstrike on the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp near Gaza City that killed more than 125 people, the U.S. officials said."

Biden aides have admitted "missteps"... or rather this is about trying to quietly appease angry and disappointed progressive voters:

Israel has explained that a Hamas commander was hiding in a tunnel underneath a high-rise building, hence the large-scale devastation given civilians were also in buildings which were destroyed in the process of seeking him out.

And for another inquiry, the WSJ report documents that "Weapons investigators suspect that Israel used a 2,000-pound bomb in the strike, which could have been provided by the U.S. The United Nations Human Rights Office said that the strike killed a large number of civilians and could be a war crime."

Palestinian sources say the death toll since October has gone past 28,000 Gazans killed, with most of these being civilians, including an estimated 12,300 children and teens, according to the Gaza health ministry. Increasingly European Union officials are also voicing their outrage, and despite most of the West expressing solidarity with Israel's plight in the wake of the Oct.7 Hamas terror attack which killed over 1,200 Israelis, the tide of public opinion is now turning against Israel (and Biden too).