US delays report examining potential Israel war crimes – Politico

The State Department had been expected to reveal its assessment to Congress on Wednesday

The Biden administration in the United States is postponing a report on whether Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza, according to Politico on Tuesday, citing anonymous lawmakers.
For several months, the State Department has been investigating if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have violated international humanitarian law since the beginning of its military operation in the Palestinian enclave. Should the IDF be found in violation, the usual US military assistance to Israel would be at risk of drying up.
The Biden administration had been aiming to deliver the report to Congress on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. He stressed the soft deadline was “self-imposed,” and that work is ongoing.
A senior administration official, speaking anonymously, told Politico that the report will “be delayed by less than a week.”

Meanwhile, the US has paused shipments of bombs to Israel against the backdrop of the IDF’s “limited” ground offensive into the overcrowded Gazan border town of Rafah, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. The assault was initiated against the Biden administration’s wishes, the agency wrote, citing a senior administration official. A shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound (900kg) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (225kg) bombs had been earmarked for the IDF last week, but the US was concerned about the potential use of larger explosives in Rafah’s extremely overpopulated conditions, the official told the AP.

More than 1.4 million Palestinians are currently sheltering in the town, according to UN estimates. They have been displaced from the rest of Gaza by the Israeli war against militant group Hamas. The total population of Gaza was estimated to be just over 2.2 million before the events of October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostage. The subsequent IDF blockade and bombing and ground operation has taken almost 35,000 Palestinian lives, according to local health authorities, as well as placing Israel’s methods of warfare under global scrutiny.