Senate Democrat defends criticism of US report on Israel war conduct

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) doubled down on his criticism of the U.S. report on Israeli war conduct released last week.

The State Department released a report late Friday night concluding it was “reasonable to assess” Israel has violated international humanitarian law in its war conduct in Gaza. However, the report fell short of stating a determinative finding of wrongdoing.

Van Hollen said Friday that the report was “woefully inadequate” and echoed this criticism of the report Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS.

“I fear that by not providing an unvarnished accounting of the facts and the law, we have essentially stated that what is happening in Gaza — so, for example, with respect to the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the total restriction of delivery of humanitarian assistance since the beginning of the war — by not calling that out flatly and saying that there have been arbitrary restrictions put on it, I fear that we have set a very, very low bar, a very low standard for what’s acceptable,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

“And I think that will come back to haunt us,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about the recent review from the State Department, saying it’s “reasonable to assess that in a number of instances, Israel has not acted in a manner that’s consistent with international humanitarian law.”

Van Hollen responded to Blinken’s comments Sunday as well.

“So while I appreciate the fact that as Secretary Blinken said, the administration determined that it was reasonable to conclude that violations of international law had had happened, I think there’s enough on the books to be able to point to specific cases and make specific determinations, and on that score, the administration did not ask the hard questions,” he said.

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