1/ Senior State Department officials warned that they don’t have “credible or reliable” assurances that Israel is using U.S.-provided weapons in accordance with international law. Under a National Security Memorandum that Biden issued in February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken must determine whether Israel is using U.S. weapons “in a manner consistent with all applicable international and domestic law and policy, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.” Blinken must tell Congress by May 8 whether he has certified the assurances to be credible and reliable. Four bureaus – Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; Population, Refugees and Migration; Global Criminal Justice; and International Organization Affairs – raised “serious concern over non-compliance” with international humanitarian law during the war. Their assessment cited eight examples of Israeli military actions that raise “serious questions” about potential violations of international humanitarian law, such as repeatedly striking protected sites and civilian infrastructure, “unconscionably high levels of civilian harm to military advantage,” and “killing humanitarian workers and journalists at an unprecedented rate.” The assessment also cited 11 instances of Israeli military actions that “arbitrarily restrict humanitarian aid,” including rejecting aid trucks due to a single “dual-use” item, “artificial” limitations on inspections, and repeated attacks on humanitarian sites that should be protected. Meanwhile, a coalition of lawyers called on Biden to cut off military aid to Israel, arguing that its actions in Gaza violate U.S. law, including the Arms Export Control Act and Leahy Laws, as well as international humanitarian law prohibiting disproportionate attacks on civilian populations. (Reuters / CNN)

2/ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Biden to help stop the International Criminal Court from issuing arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials – including himself. The ICC launched an investigation three years ago into possible war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian militants dating back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. Israeli officials reportedly believe that the ICC is preparing to issue warrants for senior government officials, include Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. (Axios / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)

  • U.S. determined that five Israeli security units committed human rights violations before outbreak of Gaza war. The “State Department has determined that five Israeli security units committed gross violations of human rights prior to the outbreak of the war with Hamas in Gaza, but is still deciding whether to restrict military assistance to one of the units under US law.” (CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Israel presented a new hostage deal proposal to Hamas in exchange for a “sustained” 40-day ceasefire in Gaza. The current deal would see 33 hostages freed in the first stage in exchange for a temporary ceasefire and the release of “potentially thousands” of Palestinians in Israel. For months, Israel had demanded that Hamas release a group of at least 40 hostages made up of women, children, the elderly, and those with serious medical conditions in order to secure a ceasefire. Hamas, however, reportedly doesn’t have 40 living hostages who fit that criteria. Israeli officials believe there are about 130 hostages remaining in Gaza, and at least 30 of those have died in captivity. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Hamas to accept what he said was an “extraordinarily generous” proposal for a ceasefire and hostage release, and that Hamas alone stood in the way of a deal. If no deal is made, Israel is expected to launch a ground invasion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than 1 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Axios)

  • What to Know About the Campus Protests Over the Israel-Hamas War. “Recent arrests at Columbia University spurred a nationwide movement of pro-Palestinian protests and encampments on campuses.” (New York Times)
  • The deadline set by Columbia University for demonstrators to vacate an encampment there or face suspension has passed. “There were about 80 tents and dozens of protesters left in the encampment just after 2 p.m.” (CNN / NBC News / Bloomberg / New York Times)

4/ A federal appeals court ruled that state healthcare plans must cover gender-affirming surgeries. State officials in West Virginia and North Carolina had argued that their policies were based on “legitimate government interests,” such as cost concerns, rather than bias. The court, however, ruled that the denial of some health care services via government-sponsored insurance for transgender people was discriminatory. (Associated Press / Washington Post / Axios)

5/ Trump’s allies are reportedly working on proposals to reduce the Federal Reserve’s independence if Trump is re-elected, including letting the president influence interest rate decisions. Under the plan, the Fed chair would be required to seek Trump’s review on interest rate policy, negotiate with the committee on the president’s behalf to steer policy, and to require candidates for Fed chair to agree to privately consult informally with Trump on the central bank’s decisions. The 10-page document also suggests that Trump would have the authority to oust Jerome Powell as Fed chair before his four-year term ends in 2026. (Wall Street Journal)

6/ The Supreme Court rejected former Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s request to be released from prison while he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction. Navarro is serving a four-month sentence for defying a congressional subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. (CBS News / USA Today / CNN)

poll/ 53% of voters who don’t follow political news say they support Trump, while 27% say they support Biden. Among voters who read newspapers, 70% say they support Biden, while 21% say they support Trump. Overall, 54% of voters polled described themselves as traditional news consumers, while 40% described themselves as digital media consumers. Among the traditional news consumers, 52% support Biden compared to 41% for Trump. Among digital media consumers, however, 47% support Trump compared to 44% for Biden. (NBC News)

poll/ 55% of Americans say they see Trump’s presidency as a success, while 44% see it as a failure. In a January 2021 poll, 55% considered Trump’s presidency a failure. (CNN)