Israel used US arms in Gaza in violation of international law: Amnesty

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 May 2024

The weapons the US provided to Israel have been used in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in a manner inconsistent with US law and policy, according to Amnesty International.

Flie photo- Palestinians mourn relatives killed in Israeli bombardment, at the al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 2024. AFP


The organization demanded the US Biden administration immediately suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel.

In a new research, Amnesty detailed civilian deaths and injuries with US-made weapons, as well as other cases that highlight an overall pattern of unlawful attacks by Israeli forces.

The briefing details practices by Israeli forces inconsistent with best practices for mitigating civilian harm and provides clear examples of the misuse of defence articles, the commission of torture, and the use of unlawful lethal force.

Lastly, the briefing also details the denial of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza.

“It’s shocking that the Biden administration continues to hold that the government of Israel is not violating international humanitarian law with US-provided weapons when our research shows otherwise and international law experts disagree,” said Amanda Klasing, national director for government relations with Amnesty International USA.

“The International Court of Justice found the risk of genocide in Gaza is plausible and ordered provisional measures. President Biden must end US complicity with the government of Israel’s grave violations of international law and immediately suspend the transfer of weapons to the government of Israel.”

Amnesty cited a number of examples of violations of humanitarian law using US-made weapons, including:

- US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful airstrikes on homes full of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip in October 2023 that killed 43 civilians – 19 children, 14 women, and 10 men. 

- The use of white phosphorus in southern Lebanon by Israeli forces in October 2023 in a manner inconsistent with international humanitarian law.

- Four Israeli strikes, three in December 2023, after the humanitarian pause ended, and one in January 2024, which killed at least 95 civilians, including 42 children, in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost governorate.

In late April, senior US officials said they do not find "credible nor reliable" Israeli assurances that its use of US-supplied weapons in Gaza adheres to international humanitarian law, according to an internal State Department memo seen by Reuters.

Under a National Security Memorandum (NSM) issued by President Joe Biden in February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken must report to Congress by 8 May whether he finds credible Israeli assurances that its use of US weapons does not violate American or international law.

The assessment from four bureaus cited eight examples of Israeli military actions that the officials said raise "serious questions" about potential violations of international humanitarian law.

These included repeatedly striking protected sites and civilian infrastructure, 
"unconscionably high levels of civilian harm to military advantage," taking little action to investigate violations or hold to account those responsible for significant civilian harm, and "killing humanitarian workers and journalists at an unprecedented rate."

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