RAFAH: The United States has issued a stunning criticism of Israel’s use of American weapons in the Gaza attack, after Israeli forces intensified operations around the southern city of Rafah, where more than a million displaced people are sheltering.

Israel’s main international ally said in a report released on Friday that it was “reasonable to assess” that Israel has used weapons in ways inconsistent with international humanitarian law during the seven-month crisis.

But the long-awaited State Department report said it could not reach “conclusive findings” and stopped short of blocking weapons shipments.

Relations between the two allies slumped earlier in the week after US President Joe Biden said he would halt some arms deliveries if Israel went ahead with a full-scale assault on Rafah threatened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US has warned that the reputational damage Israel will suffer if it storms a city where an estimated 1.4 million civilians are sheltering will far outweigh any possible military gain.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said that Gaza risked an “epic humanitarian disaster” if Israel launched a full-scale ground operation in Rafah.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2024

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