The Biden Administration’s Compliance Decision Is a Disgrace

As Oxfam and Human Rights Watch documented at length, Israeli assurances are neither credible nor reliable.

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The Biden administration takes a page out of the Mike Pompeo playbook:

The U.S. has deemed Israel in compliance with U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security memorandum stipulating that recipients of U.S. weapons must be in compliance with international law, nor may they block the provision of humanitarian assistance.

This is very much like what Pompeo did as Trump’s Secretary of State when he certified that the Saudis and the UAE were taking action to reduce civilian harm in Yemen. Everyone could see that Pompeo was lying, and there was plenty of evidence that the Saudi coalition was recklessly bombing civilian targets, but the certification allowed the weapons to keep flowing. In this case, the only difference is that the Biden administration first asked the Israeli government to provide assurances that they would abide by international law and then took their word for it when they gave the assurances.

No one paying attention to how Israel has waged this war can take these promises seriously. There is overwhelming evidence that the Israeli military has not been complying with international law in how it conducts its operations and how it uses U.S.-made weapons. There are numerous reports confirming that Israel has been impeding and blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid. 14 major NGOs have said that Israel is not in compliance. As Oxfam and Human Rights Watch documented at length, Israeli assurances are neither credible nor reliable. The Biden administration’s claim of Israeli compliance is nonsense.

Jeremy Konyndyk of Refugees International commented on the news:

Yet on the same day [as the UNSCR], @SecBlinken determines inexplicably that Israel’s behavior is in compliance with US law on civilian protection and humanitarian access. Whatever good the UN Resolution does is offset by this. Just mystifyingly incoherent policy.

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Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.