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30 UN Experts Call on Arms Makers to Stop Weapons Transfers to Israel

These risks are heightened by the ICJ’s recent order for Israel to stop its ongoing invasion of Rafah, the experts said.

Pro-Palestine activists demonstrate after they shut down Lockheed Martin's headquarters entrance to demand an end to their weapons supply to Israel, in Arlington, Virginia, on April 15, 2024.

Dozens of UN experts are warning weapons makers, governments and investors that they are risking being complicit in “serious violations” of international human rights laws, potentially including genocide, by providing weapons to Israel as it wages genocide in Gaza.

The group of 30 human rights experts, including multiple special rapporteurs to the UN, called out arms manufacturers like U.S. companies Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more, saying that they should end transfers “even if they are executed under existing export licenses.”

“These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws,” the experts said in a statement.

The recent order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) demanding that Israel immediately stop its Rafah invasion, as well as the ICJ’s finding that it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide, have heightened that risk, the experts warned. The group contains experts on a wide range of human rights, and includes Special Rapporteur on Palestine Francesca Albanese.

“In this context, continuing arms transfers to Israel may be seen as knowingly providing assistance for operations that contravene international human rights and international humanitarian laws and may result in profit from such assistance,” they said.

The UN experts also warn investors in these manufacturers, like Bank of America, BlackRock, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, State Farm, Wells Fargo and others, that they could also be liable for aiding human rights abuses against Palestinians. While these financiers may not be directly making the weapons Israel is using in its campaign of extermination, they are making it possible for nations and arms companies to do so.

“Arms initiate, sustain, exacerbate, and prolong armed conflicts, as well as other forms of oppression, hence the availability of arms is an essential precondition for the commission of war crimes and violations of human rights, including by private armament companies,” the group said.

Advocates for Palestinian rights have long targeted arms manufacturers for not just creating the weapons used to slaughter Palestinians, but also profiting from the genocide; the more brutal and prolonged the destruction, the more money the companies and their executives rake in, as arms companies openly tell their investors.

General Dynamics makes the MK-80 series of bombs that Israel has long used in its decades-old campaign against Palestinians; Boeing creates the bomb kits that help Israel level refugee camps and residential buildings; General Dynamics developed and Lockheed Martin makes the F-16 fighter jets bombs are dropped from.

The experts also called out companies with lesser-known ties to Israel’s slaughter, like Caterpillar, which has made the bulldozers that Israel has used to destroy buildings and cemeteries.

Activists have targeted particularly prolific arms makers and investors with divestment campaigns, while the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has seen a surge in activity since October.

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