Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday Israel's use of U.S.-supplied weapons is under constant review. The remark follows the Israeli air strike early Tuesday, by an American-supplied F-16 fighter jet in Gaza City, that killed a leader of the radical Palestinian faction Hamas and 14 others in the crowded area including several children.
Mr. Powell says the air strike is a matter of concern for the administration. But he is giving no sign of any move to punish Israel under U.S. law limiting the use of American supplied weaponry to self-defense or internal security. In a talk with reporters, Mr. Powell said the Israeli government itself is looking into the circumstances of Tuesday's attack, and that in Washington, the issue of Israel's use of U.S. weapons is always under review.
"We are constantly reviewing the manner in which the military equipment that we have provided to the state of Israel is used," emphasized Mr. Powell. "In this case, in going after one particular individual in a built-up area, and a number of lives were lost."
A State Department spokesman, downplaying the notion Israel might be cited for violating U.S. law, said the administration is not looking to make a legal case against Israel but rather to find ways to enhance its security while helping the Palestinians achieve their legitimate aspirations.