As Israel continues its ground incursion against Hamas following the Oct. 7 massacre, new reports in Washington reveal that the United States is trying to collect information to allow officials to make judgments as to whether Israel is abiding by the laws of war.
According to intelligence officials, the U.S. has collected intelligence and organized detailed assessments regarding Israel and Hamas military movements and tactics in Gaza since the war began in October.
Information such as targeting by both sides, types of weapons used, and the number of people killed on both sides has been given to Congressional members in several briefings, including with the members of the intelligence committees.
Speaking to Politico, Josh Paul, a former U.S. State Department official who quit the agency over the administration’s support for Israel against Hamas, said that the State Department is collecting reports of potential Israeli violations through a system called the Civilian Harm Incident (CHIRG).
Paul said officials within the department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs asked the agency’s legal office to “provide information about their potential international law exposure as a result of approving these sales.”
Other administration officials said the latest actions come as President Biden recently reiterated that Israel was using “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza.
Amid the outcry from hard-left progressive activists over Israel’s incursion against Hamas in Gaza, progressive lawmakers have asked the administration for information about the degree to which Israel is using American intelligence or weapons to target Hamas and whether those attacks have killed civilians.
Lawmakers have received several detailed briefings about Israel’s targeting in Gaza, including the usage of non-precision guided munitions by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).
Following the Oct. 7 massacre, various human rights groups and international entities, including the U.N. and other NGOs, have accused Israel of violating international law while ignoring Hamas’s brutal actions against Israeli soldiers, men, women, and young children.
Progressive lawmakers like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have pushed for greater scrutiny of arms sales to Israel, introducing a resolution that demands information on Jerusalem’s human rights practices amid the ongoing conflict.
According to reports, Senator Sanders’s resolution would force the State Department to provide a response within a month or see its security assistance end.
In Washington, the Biden White House has publicly and privately pressed Israel to be more precise with its targeting in Gaza. Despite calls for Israel to wrap up its operation against Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has said that the Jewish state will not stop until Hamas is gone and will not allow the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) to rule over the Gaza Strip once the war is over.