Amnesty International is calling on the UN for an embargo on arms sales to both Israeli and Palestinian groups following the Gaza Conflict which killed around 1,300 Gazans and 13 Israelis in a mere 22 days of fighting.
Amnesty International came across many white phosphorus 155mm artillery carrier shells throughout Gaza with markings M825 A1 – a US-made munition.
Since early December 2008, the US Military Sealift Command has been organizing three large deliveries by sea of military ammunition and high explosives, including explosives with white phosphorus, from the US base at Sunny Hill, North Carolina, to an Israeli port near Gaza.
What did the Gaza Conflict have to do with US interests?
Amnesty International has found indisputable evidence that Israeli forces used white phosphorus, which has a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated residential areas in Gaza, putting the Palestinian civilian population at high risk.
During the same period, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups continued to fire indiscriminate rockets into residential areas of southern Israel, killing three civilians.
Direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks are war crimes.
The organization’s delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January – that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces.
When each 155mm artillery shell bursts, it releases 116 wedges impregnated with white phosphorus which ignite on contact with oxygen and can scatter, depending on the height at which it is burst (and wind conditions), over an area at least the size of a football pitch.
Impose UN SC arms embargo – Impose immediately a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons or munitions and other military equipment will not be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This must include ensuring that alleged violations are thoroughly and impartially investigated and accountability, with any persons who are found responsible being brought to justice in fair trials.
Suspend All Arms Transfers – Act immediately to unilaterally suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions, as well as those which may be diverted, to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk that such equipment will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.