Amnesty International is calling on the US Government to immediately halt the transfer of arms and fuel to Israel for use by the Israeli military. The organisation has repeatedly called for a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, amidst mounting evidence that war crimes are being committed by both sides in the past four weeks in Gaza and Israel.
At a protest to be held today in Dublin the organisation will demand that the US Government immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which have provided the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza.
The call comes amid reports that the Pentagon has approved the immediate transfer of grenades and mortar rounds to the Israeli armed forces from a US arms stockpile pre-positioned in Israel, and follows a shipment of 4.3 tons of US-manufactured rocket motors, which arrived in the Israeli port of Haifa on 15 July.
These deliveries add to more than US$62 million worth of munitions, including guided missile parts and rocket launchers, artillery parts and small arms, alreadyexported from the USA to Israel between January and May this year.
”If the US Government continues to supply arms to Israel and fuel for military vehicles and fighter jets being used in attacks which have caused many, many hundreds of civilian deaths and horrific injuries, it will have more blood on its hands,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
If the US Government continues to supply arms to Israel and fuel for military vehicles and fighter jets being used in attacks which have caused many, many hundreds of civilian deaths and horrific injuries, it will have more blood on its handsColm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland
“Instead of continuing to send shipments of fuel and arms to the Israeli military, the USA must immediately suspend all such transfers and back an international investigation into the atrocities being carried out by both sides.”
The USA is by far the largest exporter of military equipment to Israel. According to data made public by the US Government, its arms transfers to Israel from January to May 2014 included nearly $27million for “rocket launchers”, $9.3 million worth in “parts of guided missiles” and nearly $762,000 for “bombs, grenades and munitions of war”.
Since 2012, the USA has exported $276 million worth of basic weapons and munitions to Israel, a figure that excludes exports of military transport equipment and high technologies.
The news on 30 July that the USA had allowed the resupply of munitions to Israel came the same day the US Government condemned the shelling of a UN school in Gaza which killed at least 20 people, including children and UN humanitarian workers.
“It is deeply cynical for the White House to condemn the deaths and injuries of Palestinians, including children, and humanitarian workers, when it knows full well that the Israeli military responsible for such attacks are armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment supplied by the US,” said Colm O’Gorman.
Amnesty International is calling on the UN to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups with the aim of preventing violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by all sides. In the absence of a UN arms embargo, the organisation is calling on all states to unilaterally suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to all parties to the conflict.
They should not resume until violations committed in previous conflicts are properly investigated with those responsible brought to justice.
Palestinian armed groups have continued to fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel, endangering civilians in flagrant violation of international law. Amnesty International has repeatedly called for an immediate end to such attacks, which amount to war crimes.
On July 24 the speaker of the Iranian parliament said Iran had provided arms manufacturing know-how to Hamas in Gaza. In November 2012 he said Iran had given both financial and military support to Hamas, and the Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said missile technology has been supplied. Hamas fighters have admitted to firing Iranian-type Fajr 5 missiles towards Tel Aviv, but mostly fire shorter-range M25 or “Qassam” rockets and GRAD rockets.
“Cutting off the supply of weapons and military supplies which are used to commit serious breaches of international law is a key step in bringing to an end the current round of conflict. Those who supply arms to either side must recognise their responsibility for the appalling suffering inflicted upon civilians during the conflict. And those directly responsible for breaches of international law and war crimes must be held to account. Impunity for war crimes must end,” said Colm O’Gorman.
More than 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been reported killed since Israel began its latest offensive in Gaza on 8 July. At least 63 Israeli soldiers have died in the conflict, as well as three civilians in Israel, including a Thai national.
For a breakdown of US arms exports to Israel see: http://bit.ly/UE089K
For more information about Amnesty International’s campaign: US Government: Stop Arming Israel see http://amnesty.ie/stop-arming-Israel