State Department Divided as Blinken Faces Deadline on Israel Weapon Use Compliance

Mia Nightshade

Updated Monday, April 29, 2024 at 11:24 AM CDT

State Department Divided as Blinken Faces Deadline on Israel Weapon Use Compliance

Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, the State Department faces a rift over Israel's adherence to international law regarding the use of American-provided weapons. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is under pressure as a May 8 deadline approaches to inform Congress on the credibility of Israel's assurances on weapons usage, following President Joe Biden's national security memorandum issued in February. This memorandum mandates recipients of US weapons to ensure compliance with international and domestic law, including humanitarian and human rights standards.

Human rights groups have accused Israel of war crimes during the conflict in Gaza, with concerns of potential US complicity due to its support against Hamas. Four State Department bureaus have expressed serious reservations about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law. Despite these concerns, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed that Israel has provided the necessary assurances and a report to Congress is underway.

President Biden's recent aid package to Israel, totaling $26 billion, has come under scrutiny from progressives and human rights advocates, especially as reports indicate over 34,000 fatalities in Gaza since hostilities erupted. Protests have sprung up across the US, particularly on college campuses, demonstrating mounting frustration with Biden's unwavering support for Israel.

In a recent call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden reaffirmed his "ironclad" commitment to Israel, but also signaled that the US could potentially slow military provisions or reduce monetary assistance if Israel impedes aid to Gaza or violates human rights laws. A significant Israeli strike, resulting in the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen workers, has led Biden to threaten alterations in US support.

The State Department's annual human rights report has raised the issue of war crimes in the conflict, including allegations of torture and forced disappearances of Palestinians since October 7. However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary Blinken have found no evidence of genocide by Israel.

During their conversation, Biden and Netanyahu focused on the release of hostages held by Hamas, a topic underscored by the recent release of videos showing two Americans in captivity. The White House readout also mentioned discussions about increasing humanitarian assistance and preparations for new northern crossings into Gaza.

The Biden administration is pushing for a clear and actionable plan from Israel to protect civilians in Rafah and has communicated through White House adviser John Kirby that an invasion should not proceed without addressing these concerns. Hamas is considering a proposal for a temporary six-week ceasefire, which includes halting hostilities in Rafah.

Secretary Blinken's upcoming visit to the region signifies the administration's commitment to cease-fire discussions and hostage negotiations. Qatar and Egypt have been mediating these talks for months. The broader aid package signed by Biden also allocates substantial funds to Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific region, following Israel's successful defense against Iranian threats.

As Blinken prepares to travel to Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the State Department underscores Hamas's role in impeding a ceasefire and seeks a lasting peace and security in the region. Talks on an independent Palestinian state and security guarantees for Israel will be key topics during his trip. In Riyadh, Blinken will engage in bilateral meetings about Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel, possibly unveiling a framework for this normalization and a two-state solution.

Blinken's efforts in the region, as announced by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, aim to resolve the Palestinian question and bring an end to the conflict in Gaza, paving the way for new possibilities in Middle Eastern diplomacy.

Conservative Bias:

Look at this, folks, the State Department is in utter disarray, all because a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals can't stomach the fact that Israel is defending itself from terrorists. Secretary Blinken is being hounded by leftists to criticize our strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel, for doing what's necessary to combat Hamas, a known terrorist organization. These human rights groups, nothing more than mouthpieces for anti-American sentiment, are trying to pin war crimes on Israel, and by extension, the United States, for standing firm against terror. The Biden administration, caving to progressive whiners, is questioning the $26 billion in aid to Israel, even as Israel faces relentless attacks. It's clear as day that this administration would rather side with terrorists than support a democracy under siege. And now, Biden's playing both sides, making empty threats to Israel while pretending to be their ally. This is just another example of Democrats throwing our friends under the bus and emboldening our enemies.

Liberal Bias:

Once again, the conservative war machine is rearing its ugly head, turning a blind eye to the atrocities being committed with American weapons. Secretary Blinken is under the gun to hold Israel accountable, but the right-wing hawks are circling, ready to defend Israel's war crimes at all costs. The Biden administration, with its massive $26 billion aid package to Israel, is complicit in the slaughter of thousands in Gaza. Progressives and human rights activists are right to protest this blatant disregard for Palestinian lives. Biden's so-called "ironclad" commitment to Israel is nothing more than a blank check for brutality. And the cherry on top? Defense Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken can't seem to find "evidence" of genocide—how convenient. The Biden administration's feeble threats to alter support are nothing but smoke and mirrors, an attempt to appease the growing outrage while continuing to fund a violent occupation. It's high time for the U.S. to stop its unconditional support for Israel and start respecting human rights.

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