Amnesty International calls for arms embargo against Israel and all Palestinian militant groups

In a report embargoed until 12:01 am on 23 February, Amnesty International said there should be no more business as usual, after the three-week Israeli Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza — and years of rocket, mortar and missile attacks from Gaza upon neighboring areas of Israel.

“We urge the UN Security Council to impose an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are found to ensure that munitions and other military equipment are not used to commit serious violations of international law,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Director for the Middle East, in a statement issued on Sunday but embargoed until just after midnight on Monday.

His statement added:“In addition all states should suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk of human rights violations … To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers’ money … As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” said Malcolm Smart.

Smart called for an immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel.

In a press release announcing their new report, Amnesty said that “Even before the three-week conflict, those who armed the two sides will have been aware of the pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by the parties. They must take some responsibility for the violations perpetrated with the weapons they have supplied and should immediately cease further transfers”.
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