Unnecessary U.S. Investigation into Israeli Operations

The recently reported U.S. investigation into whether Israel used U.S.-provided weapons illegally in operations in Gaza and Lebanon is an ill-timed and counterproductive policy decision. The existence of this investigation, particularly without clear answers as to how and why it is being conducted, will only serve to unjustifiably prejudice public opinion against Israel—even before the probe reveals its conclusions—and increase political pressure for U.S. conditions on aid to Israel or Israel terminating the war before defeating Hamas and recovering the remaining hostages.

In accordance with how the United States has proceeded in similar, though not precisely analogous, cases involving alleged U.S. and Ukrainian illegal military conduct, Israel’s functioning and transparent military judicial system should be allowed to conduct its own investigations first. Subsequently, a U.S. policy process—using already existing, better, less disruptive, and less prejudicial mechanisms—for ensuring U.S. weapons are used in accordance with U.S. policy and international law could demonstrate Israel’s many efforts to uphold its legal obligations.

The United States should wait to review any Israeli military operations until after Israel conducts its internal legal review and U.S. officials have received an assessment from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), U.S. leaders should avoid signaling a willingness to condition aid to Israel, and Congress should rapidly pass supplemental military funding to Israel.

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