Biden Won’t Conclude Israel Violated Terms of U.S. Weapons Agreement, Sources Say

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(WASHINGTON) A soon-to-be released Biden administration report to Congress does not conclude that Israel has violated the terms for its use of U.S. weapons.

That’s according to three people who have been briefed on the national security memorandum to be submitted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to lawmakers. All three requested anonymity to discuss the matter before the report’s release.

The report is expected to be sharply critical of Israel, even though it didn’t conclude that Israel violated terms of U.S.-Israel weapons agreements, according to one U.S. official.

A presidential directive mandated the review of whether Israel had complied with international law in its use of U.S.-provided weapons and other security support during the course of the war.

The Biden administration’s first-of-its-kind assessment of its close ally’s conduct of the war comes after seven months of airstrikes, ground fighting and aid restrictions that have claimed the lives of nearly 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Any finding against Israel could endanger Biden’s support in this year’s presidential elections from some voters who keenly support Israel.

A senior Biden administration official said the memorandum is expected to be released later Friday, but declined to comment on the findings.

Human rights groups long have accused Israeli security forces of committing abuses against Palestinians and have accused Israeli leaders of failing to hold those responsible to account.

Israel says that it is following all U.S. and international law, that it investigates allegations of abuse by its security forces and that its campaign in Gaza is proportional to the existential threat it says is posed by Hamas.

As the suffering of Palestinian civilians grew, Biden and his administration edged away from their initial unwavering public support of Israel and began to criticize its conduct of the war.

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Associated Press writes Aamer Madhani, Ellen Knickmeyer, Mike Balsamo and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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