Center for American Progress president Patrick Gaspard

Patrick Gaspard, president of the Center for American Progress, attends an event in Rome on March 2, 2024.

(Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Insider Rips 'Shocking' US Claim That Israel Is Following International Law

"There is no time to spare in pulling back from this outrageous assertion by the State Department," said Center for American Progress president Patrick Gaspard.

A longtime Democratic operative and current president of the Center for American Progress issued a scathing statement Tuesday criticizing the Biden administration for accepting the Israeli government's claim that it is adhering to international law with its catastrophic military assault on the Gaza Strip.

"The State Department's shocking assertion that the Netanyahu government is complying with international law in Gaza is a gross disregard of overwhelming evidence and a dangerous precedent in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy," said Patrick Gaspard, who previously served as executive director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and U.S. ambassador to South Africa under the Obama administration.

"The stakes here are so high that the administration must be transparent and accountable in sharing with the American people all evidence that has led to this determination and the continued sale of offensive weapons to Israel," Gaspard argued, pointing to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant's stated goal of imposing a "complete siege" on Gaza at the start of the assault, which is now in its sixth month with no end in sight.

Gaspard said that "every aspect" of Gallant's "edict" has "been on open display to the world," with famine, dehydration, and disease spreading across the enclave as Israel persists in obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The CAP president's statement came after U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters earlier this week that the Biden administration has not found Israel "to be in violation of international humanitarian law, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance."

Miller's remarks followed a letter from Gallant assuring the Biden administration that Israel is complying with international law in its use of American weaponry—a written assurance that was required under a new White House policy.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Miller clarified that the administration's assessment of Israel's compliance with international law is "ongoing" and has "not reached a definitive conclusion."

But Miller reiterated that "we have not reached the conclusion with respect to Israel that they have violated international humanitarian law."

"There is no time to spare in pulling back from this outrageous assertion by the State Department."

Leading human rights organizations and United Nations experts have concluded that Israel is guilty of grave violations of international humanitarian law—including the crime of genocide—and called for an immediate arms embargo.

Gaspard said Tuesday that "by its own imposed standards," the U.S. "cannot heedlessly deliver offensive weapons as the Israeli government continues to bombard and starve innocents on a mass scale."

"These actions have nothing to do with self-defense; they are clearly intended as collective punishment and are resulting in the complete devastation of Palestinians as a people," Gaspard added. "There is no time to spare in pulling back from this outrageous assertion by the State Department: An Israeli incursion into Rafah promises to bring only more death and devastation to civilians—and will make the administration complicit in one of the worst tramplings of human rights in this century."

Gaspard's statement is just the latest evidence that dissent against the Biden administration's unwavering support for Israel is spreading in establishment circles. Last week, dozens of former U.S. officials signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to consider restricting military aid to Israel, citing its mass killing of Gaza civilians.

On Wednesday, a U.S. State Department official resigned in protest of Biden's Gaza policy, saying in an interview that "trying to advocate for human rights just became impossible."

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