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Amnesty International: Israel Repeatedly Committed War Crimes With US Weapons

The human rights group called on the US to immediately suspend arms shipments to Israel.

A Palestinian woman walks past the rubble of buildings destroyed in previous Israeli bombardments, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 30, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Amnesty International USA has called on the U.S. to immediately suspend weapons transfers to Israeli forces in a new report finding that Israel has repeatedly committed egregious violations of international law using U.S.-made weapons fired on Gaza and beyond.

The report finds that, over the past seven months, Israeli forces have used U.S. weapons like JDAMs, small diameter bombs and white phosphorus shells in attacks that have violated human rights law in their injuring and killing of civilians.

This includes two Israeli strikes in October using U.S.-made JDAMs dropped on residences in Gaza that killed 43 civilians, according to Amnesty International USA, and four Israeli strikes between December and January in the supposed “safe zone” of Rafah that killed 95 civilians, with at least one munition used in these attacks being a Boeing-made small diameter bomb.

It also includes the use of white phosphorus, a substance that burns through clothing, skin, and bone, on a residential area in Lebanon in October, injuring at least nine civilians.

The group submitted the research brief to the U.S. government as part of the Biden administration’s policy that U.S.-funded groups send assurances to the U.S. that they are not using U.S. weapons to violate humanitarian law. Humanitarian groups have previously said that assurances by Israeli officials that such violations are not being carried out by their forces should not be assumed credible by the administration or other U.S. lawmakers.

Amnesty International USA urges officials to stop sending weapons to Israel or else continue complicity in atrocities being committed by Israeli forces across the Middle East.

“It’s shocking that the Biden administration continues to hold that the government of Israel is not violating international humanitarian law with U.S.-provided weapons when our research shows otherwise and international law experts disagree,” said Amnesty International USA National Director for Government Relations Amanda Klasing in a statement. “President Biden must end U.S. complicity with the government of Israel’s grave violations of international law and immediately suspend the transfer of weapons to the government of Israel.”

The report further details numerous instances of Israeli forces committing violations of international law in which the group couldn’t directly identify the use of U.S. weapons, but that demonstrate the risk of U.S. weapons being used in such military incursions. In one instance, Israeli forces killed 46 civilians, including a three-month-old baby, in two separate strikes on shelters in central Gaza in October.

The group said it found no evidence of military targets at the sites of the attacks, meaning that they were likely “indiscriminate attacks or direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects and must be investigated as war crimes.”

Other moves, like Israel’s forced evacuation notices with only 24 hours’ warning, constituted “declar[ing] an entire region a military target” and in some cases utilized their blockade of humanitarian aid corridors as “a form of blackmailing residents into leaving.”

“The evidence is clear and overwhelming: the government of Israel is using U.S.-made weapons in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and in a manner that is inconsistent with U.S. law and policy,” Klasing said.

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